Luchino Visconti’s savagely subversive classic The Damned is getting an exquisite special edition from The Criterion Collection

The most savagely subversive film by the iconoclastic auteur Luchino ViscontiThe Damned employs the mechanics of deliriously stylized melodrama to portray Nazism’s total corruption of the soul.

In the wake of Hitler’s ascent to power, the wealthy industrialist von Essenbeck family and their associates – including the scheming social climber Friedrich (Dirk Bogarde), the incestuous matriarch Sophie (Ingrid Thulin) and the perversely cruel heir Martin (Helmut Berger, memorably donning Dietrich-like drag in his breakthrough role) – descend into a self-destructive spiral of decadence, greed, perversion and all-consuming hatred as they vie for power, over the family business and over one another.

The heightened performances and Visconti‘s luridly expressionistic use of Technicolor conjure a garish world of decaying opulence in which one family’s downfall comes to stand for the moral rot of a nation.

 

The Damned opened to widespread critical acclaim, but also faced immense controversy from ratings boards around the world for its sexual and deeply taboo thematic content. In the United States, the film was given an “X” rating by the MPAA and was only lowered to a more-marketable “R” after twelve minutes of offending footage were cut. It’s definitely not an easy watch, but proves a deeply rewarding experience for viewers with a taste for twisted pitch-black satire and melodrama. Though it’s been out of print for quite some time, The Criterion Collection has swooped in to give The Damned an exquisite special edition release on DVD and Blu-ray.

Special features include a new 2K digital restoration by the Cineteca di Bologna and Institut Lumire, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; an alternate Italian-language soundtrack; an interview from 1970 with director Luchino Visconti about the film; archival interviews with actors Helmut Berger, Ingrid Thulin and Charlotte RamplingVisconti: Man of Two Worlds, a 1969 behind-the-scenes documentary; a new interview with scholar Stefano Albertini about the sexual politics of the film; a new English subtitle translation and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing; plus an essay by scholar D. A. Miller.

 

Check out the new cover art for The Damned below and click here to pre-order your copy. The new Criterion Collection special edition will be available on DVD and Blu-ray starting September 28th.

 

This Weekend’s VOD Favorites

The Gay Cinema Video On Demand experience at TLAgay.com has your entertainment needs covered! We’re always working to expand selection of new and old gay-themed movies available for your viewing pleasure. Here’s just five of our current favorites that you may have missed – ALL available to watch INSTANTLY! Stay home, stay safe and enjoy a movie!

 

The Strong Ones
Based on an original short film, which won the coveted Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, The Strong Ones follows the romantic saga of two beautiful Chilean men on different life paths. Lucas (Samuel Gonzalez), an architect, travels to visit his sister, who lives in a remote town in Southern Chile. Beside the ocean, shrouded in the wintery mist, he meets Antonio (Antonio Altamirano), a boatswain on a local fishing boat. When an intense romance blossoms between them, their strength, independence, and adulthood become immovable, just like the ebb and flow of the tide. Confidently directed by Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo, The Strong Ones took home both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Outfest this past year.

 

Cas
From filmmakers Joris van den Berg, Matt Guerin and Reid Waterer comes a sexy and thoroughly entertaining collection of three short films that examine the different effects the addition of a third party has on a modern gay relationship. In Cas, Pepijn and George’s steady, seven-year relationship is shaken after they allow a hot young student named Cas to sleep on their couch while he finds a place of his own. Gradually, both men fall head over heels for the attractive younger man’s laconic charm, forcing them to reconsider their many long-term plans. Is Cas’s presence endangering their relationship or is he a blessing in disguise? In Tri-Curious, last minute anxiety threatens to ruin a young gay couple’s first threesome together. The final short in the collection, Bed Buddies, is a comedy about three gay friends who wake up after sleeping together and try to make sense of the unclear line between friendship and love.

 

Redwoods
Both original and incredibly romantic, the 2009 film Redwoods tells the story of an already-partnered man whose love is tested when a mysterious drifter passes through his small Northern California town. Everett (Brendan Bradley) and Miles (Tad Coughenour) are in a comfortably platonic relationship, which is held together by raising their son. While his family travels out of town, introverted Everett finally has time to himself – that is until Chase (Matthew Montgomery), a striking writer, pulls up in front of his house. Shot amidst the ancient and gorgeous redwoods of California, writer-director David Lewis‘s film is a stunning ode to the power of love and something of an homage to The Bridges of Madison County with a decidedly gay twist.

 

Lovebirds
Mario (Joseph Ison) has found true love. For the past few months he has been corresponding with Alexis (Andres Alexis), a handsome young man from Spain, over the internet. Even with only an online connection to speak of, Mario is just wild for the guy. Alexis has already decided he feels the same. The pair decide to finally meet in Mario’s hometown in the Philippines. But there is one small problem: Mario has never told his family that he is gay. Things are turned upside when Alexis arrives and Mario’s mom figures out that he is not a girl. Alexis’ arrival, and the subsequent feast meant to welcome him, causes a series of misunderstandings, outright lies and hurt feelings. People just need some time to come around in this tender, humorous and heartfelt story. Ultimately, Lovebirds tells a wonderful and touching story about family, growing up and finding love.

 

Retake
Jonathan (Tuc Watkins), a handsome businessman, hires a young hustler (Devon Graye) to accompany him a road trip to the Grand Canyon… with a catch. He must role-play as someone named “Brandon.” On the road, “Brandon” comes to realize he’s playing a vital role in the recreation of Jonathan’s lovelorn past. As the hustler digs for clues, Jonathan insists that he stick to the role he was hired for. Eager to leave his own past behind and feeling a strange connection with his unique client, he sheds his own identity and plays the part. An amorous game of obsession and manipulation commences, as these two broken souls get closer to their destination. A scorching romantic mystery, Retake has been earning rave reviews. The San Francisco Bay Times called it “Palpable and heartbreaking.” The Hollywood Reporter said that it’s “carving out some distinctive new territory in the well-trod world of queer cinema.”

This Weekend’s VOD Favorites

The Gay Cinema Video On Demand experience at TLAgay.com has your entertainment needs covered! We’re always working to expand selection of new and old gay-themed movies available for your viewing pleasure. Here’s just five of our current favorites that you may have missed – ALL available to watch INSTANTLY! Stay home, stay safe and enjoy a movie!

 

Kill the Monsters
When young, pretty, and charmingly aloof Frankie (Jack Ball) falls mysteriously ill, his older and wiser partners – overthinking, practical Patrick (Ryan Lonergan), and impulsive, fiery Sutton (Garrett McKechnie) – agree that it’s time to head West, begin new adventures, and seek holistic treatment. From here, the highs and lows of the trio’s journey mirror key points in United States history – from hot sex in their luxurious New York City apartment through a road trip that results in a civil war and possible breakup to an all-out poker war involving scheming, sophisticated, and calculating German and Russian lesbians. Kill the Monsters is a sexy, funny, touching and expertly-crafted black and white indie gem you won’t want to miss.

 

Mr. Leather
In April of 2018, São Paulo played host to the second annual Brazilian Mr. Leather competition… and things got heated, to say the least. The new film Mr. Leather offers you a front-row seat – and takes you deep behind the scenes – as five individual contestants vie for full leather dominance. The winner will be crowned by Dom Barbudo, the first official Mr. Leather of Brazil. Along with victory comes a year-long commitment to promoting the leather community throughout the country, even in the face of increasingly conservative values and political unrest. Making his feature film debut, writer-director Daniel Nolasco follows all the action, creating gorgeous and intensely provocative compositions that celebrate the unique power of this thriving subculture.

 

Caught in a Landslide
What does it truly feel like to be lonely? A boy ravished, worn and depleted encounters a journey in his mind. Through a combination of pharmaceuticals and alcohol, Jay (Wade Radford) walks through memories of true love and attempts to understand his broken heart. Nightly his resident ghost (Robbie Manners) appears conjuring up visions of a lost summer romance; continuously taunting him with the opportunity to speak words previously unspoken. Jay wrestles with the past to separate fact from fiction, trying desperately to cast out the specter of emotional torment. In a film that combines imagery, poetry and the reality of loss, Caught in a Landslide takes the viewer from the beauty of England’s garden landscapes, to the darkness of a broken mind.

 

Out in the Dark
Out in the Dark
follows a young, affluent and ambitious Palestinian grad student and a Jewish lawyer who fall in love. The adorable Nimr (Nicholas Jacob) crosses the border to study and occasionally to meet his friends at a gay nightclub in Tel Aviv. One night, he is introduced to the handsome and wealthy Roy (Michael Aloni) and an instant attraction ensues. While Tel Aviv is ostensibly more accepting of Palestinians being present, Nimr’s homeland is not. He struggles to keep the peace with his Muslim family – especially his brother, who is now a member of a radical, extremist anti-Palestinian organization. Despite being surrounded by all of these weighty (and sometimes dangerous) obstacles, the budding couple cannot help but fall immensely in love. Everything soon comes to a gripping head. Nimr is to choose between the life he once dreamed of… or Roy, his true love.

 

Aya Arcos
Writer-director Maximilian Moll’s first feature film, Aya Arcos, roams with its two unequal heroes around a never-cooling Rio de Janeiro, a city in which beauty and melancholy, life’s ease and its difficulty, often go side by side. Fabio (Daniel Passi) is a 21-year-old hustler working the heady streets of Rio when he meets Edu (Cesar Augusto), a successful author. They soon embark on a passionate and wild relationship. But whilse Fabio is sexually adventurous and carefree, Edu is far more protective. With several demons from his past that he has yet to face, Edu finds emotional connections difficult to maintain. The pair must try to navigate a path together – can they really live for the moment, or will the realities of life crush them completely? An official selection at the Montreal World Film Festival and the Torino Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Aya Arcos infuses its troubled May-December relationship with serious sexual intensity.

 

Out This Week: End of the Century

In his alluring debut feature, writer-director Lucio Castro offers both a sun-soaked European travelogue and an epic, decades-spanning romance.

When Ocho (Juan Barberini), a thirty-something Argentine poet on vacation in Barcelona, spots Javi (Ramón Pujol), a Spaniard from Berlin, from the balcony of his Airbnb, the attraction is subtle but persistent. After a missed connection on the beach, a third chance encounter escalates to a seemingly random hookup. But are these two merely beautiful strangers in a foreign city or are they part of each other’s histories – and maybe even their destinies?

Castro deliberately parses out mystery after mystery, leading the audience on a journey of discovery as the two leading men discover themselves and each other. With the sumptuous lensing of a Barcelona summertime and tangible chemistry between the two lead actors, End of the Century is a love story that echoes across time.

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10 Recent Gay Movies to Watch on Halloween

The pumpkins are lit, the neighborhood children are stuffed with candy and there’s a crisp chill in the air. It’s Halloween Night and that means it’s time to kick back and relax with a scary movie! Here are 10 recent gay films we liked a lot that we feel might fit the occasion…

Knife+Heart
Easily one of the most acclaimed gay films of the year so far, this sexually explicit throwback thriller from visionary writer-director Yann Gonzalez is an absolute must-see! Vanessa Paradis is incredible as Anne, a savvy French woman who produces third-rate gay porn. After her editor and lover Lois (Kate Moran) leaves her, she tries to win her back by shooting her most ambitious film yet – with the help of her trusted, flaming sidekick Archibald (Nicolas Maury). But when one of her actors is brutally murdered, Anne gets caught up in a strange investigation that turns her life upside-down. Shot on 35mm and featuring a killer retro score from the band M83, Knife+Heart is an ultra-stylish and blood-soaked ode to 1970s-era Brian De Palma, Dario Argento and William Friedkin.

Shadowlands © Border2Border Entertainment

Shadowlands
Directed by Charlie David, Shadowlands is a sexy and stylish anthology film that features three different stories that exploring the erotic and the macabre. The series begins in 1928 with Alex, a plastic surgeon hell-bent on perfection, hosting a house party with an assortment of colorful guests. Amid romantic misfires it becomes apparent that the only person Alex is interested in is himself. Fast forward to 1951 where we meet a gay military couple exploring the idea of opening their relationship while on a remote camping trip… where they meet a mysterious stranger. The stories conclude in 2018 when a painter, mourning the loss of his lover, becomes obsessed with creating a realistic painting of him. The resulting piece is so beautiful and life-like that he is drawn under its dangerous spell.

The Year I Lost My Mind
From prolific German director Tor Iben (Love Kills, The Passenger, The Visitor) comes a brand-new thriller about a lonely young man who becomes dangerously obsessed with a perfect stranger. After encountering him during a burglary, Tom (Alexander Tsypilev), a disturbed young man prone to wearing creepy masks that obscure his quite handsome features, begins stalking and antagonizing the attractive young Lars (Julien Lickert). When Lars finally discovers that Tom is on his tail, and that his intentions may be somewhat sinister, he manages to turn the tables on him, leading to a unexpected game of cat-and-mouse and a shocking confrontation. Sexy and unsettling in equal measure, the tension is palpable in this stylish drama with shades of Alfred Hitchcock.

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TLAgay Unlimited Has A New, LONGER Trial period!

If you haven’t tried out TLAgay Unlimited yet, you’ve been missing out. But lucky for you, there’s never been a better time to log in and check out what’s new.

As of today, we’ve lengthened our trial period from two days to five. That’s an extra three days of no-risk gay porn. As the title implies, this service is unlimited, so you can watch as much as you want (we recommend somewhere around 8-12 hours per day). You can also watch on whatever device you want – your computer, tablet, smartphone, or you can even stream directly to your TV by adding our Roku channel.

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JJ Knight And Ty Mitchell

A Tale Of Two Cock Destroyers has ARRIVED!

TLAgay is proud – perhaps more proud than we’ve ever been – to present our exclusive co-production with MEN.com, A Tale Of Two Cock Destroyers!

If you’ve been reading this blog (and shame on you if you haven’t), you’ve already seen the photos and you an idea of the absolutely brilliant ride you’re in for.

 In A Tale of Two Cock Destroyers: Part One, constable JJ Knight deals with combative stable boy Johnny Rapid, accidentally introducing him to a cock-destroying of nature. After a failed garden party, cock destroyer Madame Sophie prepares her whores for their shift. Constable Knight takes Ty Mitchell – the newest arrival in the brothel – for a ride as fellow cock destroyer Rebecca comes back for revenge.

Check out some very NSFW photos below and make sure you check back with TLAgay on November 1st when part two premieres!

JJ Knight
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