Once a year, the Dream Boat, a cruise only for gay men, sets sail off the coast of Spain. This stunningly beautiful documentary takes you on board, keeps you riveted from start to finish and makes you feel like you’re really part of the cruise – and having a hell of a good time.
Aboard the ship, it’s raining men. Sun, sea, naked skin and lots of testosterone stoke the vibes. The countdown is on for seven days of hunting for love, happiness, and eternal youth. For months, the passengers have been eagerly awaiting this journey. They have pumped up their bodies, purchased push-up swimwear and filled their suitcases with hot outfits and glamorous costumes. For many of the men, a trip on the Dream Boat offers liberation from political, social, or internal boundaries.
Directed by Tristan Ferland Milewski, the film closely follows five of these men – from Poland, Palestine, India, France and Austria. For some of them, it is dangerous to live life authentically in their home countries.
Judging by his appearance, 24-year-old Marek from Poland, shouldn’t have any trouble standing out in the crowded market of eligible men. However, he has not found his love yet and hopes to change that on the cruise. In the crowd, one of overly staged masculinity and sexuality, it’s hard to tell why someone might be interested: “I want someone who loves me as a person and not as a product from the supermarket,” Marek says, alone, after a big night out.
Two years ago, Dipankar, 32, from India, was pressured to consider an arranged marriage. Then he began to openly defend his homosexuality, but has never had a permanent relationship. In his current home of Dubai, homosexual acts are punished. He’s also hoping to find his dream man. Full of euphoria, he throws himself into the action – but the gay community‘s ideal of masculinity increasingly becomes a tight corset for him, and the question of self-acceptance grows: “I never felt lonely, never. Until I went on this journey.”
47-year-old Frenchman Philippe has been bound to a wheelchair for about 20 years. Since his parents and former friends withdrew from him, he finds it difficult to open up to new people. All the more important is his long-term relationship with his partner, and his gay substitute family. On the Dream Boat, he enjoys the feeling of being part of the community. He also has an excellent eye-level view of all the bulges in the bathing trunks on display. Nevertheless he wonders if he could be sexually successful in this physical world at all.
Ramzi, 31, was persecuted by the police in his home country of Palestine due to his homosexuality. To protect his family, he fled to Belgium and was left with nothing. Now he lives in a loving relationship that has gone through ups and downs. Together they even overcame his partner’s cancer diagnosis. For the couple, the cruise offers a brief vacation before they both have to deal with the next challenge. Ramzi wants to visit his family in Palestine – this time with his partner by his side.
Martin, a 42-year-old photographer from Austria, dances on the Dream Boat in the first row and enjoys the hedonism and abundant selection of men to the fullest. “I’m gay, I didn’t have a choice – I was lucky”, he says with a grin on his face. As a young man he couldn’t imagine living his life so breezily. Martin is HIV positive and offers perspectives on how he deals with his lifestyle today – without stigma, fears, or victimization.
You can hop aboard the Dream Boat with all of these men soon. The film is getting a theatrical release on November 3rd at the renowned Quad Cinema in Manhattan with more dates and cities to follow. It comes to DVD on December 5th. Click here to pre-order your copy and make sure to check out the trailer below along with some glowing quotes from critics.
“The true genius of Milewski’s film lies in the way he singlehandedly destroys the differences that we think divide the heterosexual experience from those of the members of the LGBT community. In Dream Boat he shows us once and for all that each of us needs, craves and wants the same thing: Someone to love us, for exactly who we are.” – Huffington Post
“Among the films in the Panorama Dokumente section is Dream Boat by Tristan Ferland Milewski, which takes viewers aboard a gay cruise with three thousand men from dozens of countries around the world. In his feature film debut director Ferland Milewski succeeds in providing a look behind the scenes of an ostensibly superficial world.” – NONFICTIONFILM
“In the end, Dream Boat shows us more than what a gay cruise might be like, but also what it feels like to be gay today—a conflicting mix of emotions and desires, where we’re all just looking to be loved.” – Travels of Adam
“The men in Tristan Ferland Milewski‘s documentary don’t want to leave anything to chance: For one week, they will be on a cruise together with only other gay men. For some people from the global community these days on board of a cruise, with a party program every evening, are an amusing distraction – for others, who come from homophobic countries like India or Palestine, they are the only time they can carelessly enjoy their sexuality. It’s the celebration of an utopia, seven days on the sea.” – Spiegel Online, 15 Berlinale highlights