A Very Natural Thing (c) Water Bearer Films

Throwback Thursday: A Very Natural Thing

Quite an important work in the history of American gay filmmaking, A Very Natural Thing is considered the first feature film on the gay experience made by an out-of-the-closet gay man to receive commercial distribution. The simple but insightful story involves a 26-year-old gay man who leaves the priesthood and moves to New York City in the hopes of finding a meaningful gay relationship. Now a schoolteacher, he soon falls in love with a handsome young advertising executive.

 

Though the film is barely remembered today, detractors at the time of its release found it a bit too sappy, bordering on soap opera. Others saw it as a sensitively told and refreshingly romantic story. At the time, the film was also seen as a gay response to the massive commercial success of Love Story. That film’s famous quote “Love means never having to say your sorry” is almost directly parodied with the line “Love means never having to say you’re in love,” in A Very Natural Thing.

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Johan (c) Water Bearer Films

Throwback Thursday: Johan

A novice filmmaker searches for an actor to portray his seductive and enigmatic jailed lover in this surreal and sexually explicit film from the 1976.

 

In Johan, a bizarre meta-story from French filmmaker Philippe Valois, one never quite knows who’s who or what’s what, but that’s okay, because even if you lose the narrative thread, there’s plenty – and we mean plenty – of gorgeous footage of beautiful men in various states of undress doing everything from dancing to playing cards to making sweet, sweet love to one another.

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Nighthawks (c) Water Bearer Films

Throwback Thursday: Nighthawks & Strip Jack Naked: Nighthawks II

When it was first made and released way back in 1978, Nighthawks was billed as the first British film to deal with gay life in positive light. Viewed almost thirty years later it seems as if life hasn’t changed all that much. London’s gay scene, and one man’s search for belonging in it, are explored in this sensitive and intelligent drama.

 

Ken Robertson plays a quiet teacher who divides his time between the classroom and the closet – and spends his evenings aimlessly cruising the city’s gay bars and discos. Using mostly unprofessional actors, this gritty, heartfelt drama has surprising depth despite the lack of any discernible plot, as it sympathetically portrays one man’s homosexual lifestyle without resorting to theatrics, hysterics and stereotyping.

 

Made over thirty years ago, the film has a “period” feel, offering strong evidence to the rapid change of gay lifestyles and gay men, specifically, in both how they accept their homosexuality as well as the social possibilities offered.

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I'll Love You Forever... Tonight (c) No Restrictions Entertainment

Throwback Thursday: I’ll Love You Forever… Tonight

A gritty gay curio available only recently on DVD and VOD for the first time ever, I’ll Love You Forever… Tonight will transport you back in time, right to the pulse of the New Queer Cinema movement.

 

Made back in 1992 for under $100,000 by writer-director Edgar Michael Bravo as his thesis film for UCLA, this somber and searing drama, set in queer twenty-something Los Angeles, revolves around the lives, loves and sexual relations of a group of friends and acquaintances. Serious with occasional flashes of humor, the film delves into the loneliness, self-deception and self-loathing of its several gay male characters with an unflinching realism.

 

Described as “Pinter-on-Fire Island” and “a queer Big Chill,” this thought-provoking tale, filmed in shadowy black and white, captures the tensions of post-AIDS male youth in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Compassionate and always perceptive, the film is rough around the edges, but represents a certain time and place in independent filmmaking that will charm anyone who remembers the the arthouse video store era fondly.

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Get Real

Throwback Thursday: Get Real

A huge gay indie hit when it premiered at film festivals and art house cinemas in the late 1990s, Get Real has long been out of print and has easily become the most frequently requested movie by our customers. We’re thrilled it’s soon going to be available again on DVD – for only $8.99, at that!

 

Based on his play “What’s Wrong with Angry?” by Patrick Wilde, who also wrote the screenplay, Get Real is a sharply observed coming-of-age story, infused with charm, humor, emotion and a knowing sense of the difficulties of being a gay teen. Steven (Ben Silverstone) is a thin, pale-skinned, dark-haired 16-year-old living in British suburbia with his upper-middle-class parents. Life changes for the soft-spoken teen when he locks eyes on the school’s strapping and handsome super-jock John (Brad Gorton). The two are attracted to each other, but John’s self-hating and deeply held fears of having his sexuality found out by others threaten to tear apart their tentative relationship.

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Throwback Thursday: Mysterious Skin

In 1992, Gregg Araki punched the cinematic world in the gut with his breakout feature The Living End, a hedonistic road movie about two HIV-positive men who embark on a shocking and violent crime spree. Since then Araki has been flipping the bird to mainstream culture whenever possible.

 

Turning 12 this year, Mysterious Skin, still might be his most accomplished and acclaimed effort. Adapted from Scott Heim‘s 1996 novel, Araki took his most serious turn to that point, taking on the controversial subject of childhood sexual abuse. In the process, he proved himself to be a maturing artist worthy of this difficult topic.

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Taxi Zum Klo

Throwback Thursday: Taxi Zum Klo

From exclusive premieres to rare archival print screenings, book signings, special dinners and events, Metrograph in New York City offers experiences for a wide spectrum of audiences, attracting diverse communities all drawn to the excitement of cinema and the magic of having a place to celebrate it. And in September, they’re shining a rare spotlight on a seminal gay classic!

 

More than 35 years after it first hit cinemas and shocked mainstream audiences, Frank Ripploh’s groundbreaking debut feature is returning to the big screen for a special engagement. Hailed as one of the defining forces behind the queer cinema genre, Taxi Zum Klo is Ripploh’s semi-autobiographical snapshot of the life of a gay schoolteacher – alternating between his “straight” work life and his nocturnal homosexual leisure activities. One of the many humorous sex scenes is in a public restroom where Frank, seated on a toilet, begins grading school papers while fondling genitals thrust at him through a glory hole. His sexual cavorting are temporarily halted when he falls in love with a movie theater manager who believes in home life and monogamy. But can he keep to the gay and narrow?

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My Own Private Idaho

Throwback Thursday: My Own Private Idaho

With My Own Private Idaho (only his third film at the time), director Gus Van Sant proved himself one of the most daring, innovative and accomplished directors of his day.

 

River Phoenix‘s portrayal of Mike, a solitary, narcoleptic street hustler searching for his long-lost mother is not only brilliant, it’s his finest performance. Keanu Reeves gives strong support as the slumming Scott, his beautiful but shallow straight friend and the unresponsive object of Mike’s love. The nighttime desert scene in which Phoenix professes his love for Reeves (partially improvised by Phoenix) is both a heartbreaking and startlingly perfect moment in gay film-making.

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Beautiful Thing

Throwback Thursday: Beautiful Thing

Released in 1996, this tender story of two teenagers and their sexual coming-of-age in a working-class development in London is still an inspiring, tender and deeply emotional experience.

 

Jamie (Glen Berry) is a reserved teen, close to his pub manager mom (Linda Henry), who prefers old Hollywood musicals to sports. His friendship with his hunky neighbor Ste (Scott Neal), a fellow student who suffers through a troubled family life, soon develops into a sexual and eventually loving relationship. How the two boys tentatively handle their nascent romantic and sexual drives and how it affects their family and friends is handled in both a fresh and surprisingly upbeat fashion.

 

Directed by Hettie MacDonald and written by Jonathan Harvey based on his own original play of the same name, Beautiful Thing was originally intended for television broadcast only, but it was so well-received that it was subsequently released in cinemas. The atmosphere of the film is heavily influenced by a soundtrack consisting almost entirely of the music of the Mamas and Papas and Mama Cass Elliot.

 

Beautiful Thing still holds a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A wonderful comedy-drama, it may possibly still be the best “coming out” movie to date.