With a narrative spanning over a decade, director David Berry, making his feature film debut by transforming the story in to a musical, using a mix of original and famous tracks (by artists varying from Regina Spektor to Ne-Yo), that help document the increasing years and romantic entanglements of Benjamin Bentley.
Being in the closet, struggling with self acceptance and worrying about what those close to you will think, is an emotional nightmare for anybody who has been through it. In Beach Rats director Eliza Hittman’s sophomore feature deals with coming out in a stylish, hyper masculine way that lays bare all the vulnerabilities of a character putting on a tough front to hide what he believes are temporary demons.
Set in 1983, the film depicts the growing friendship between gay writer Andrés (Eduardo Martinez), who has been banned from writing due to writing a subversive anti-government book, and the revolutionary woman (Lola Amores) tasked with keeping an eye on him for three days while a major event takes place down in their village.
Allan Carr was an outspoken, flamboyant personality who remained constantly in vocal opposition to the kinds of films Hollywood was making during the seventies – something he fought back against by producing Grease, the highest grossing musical of all time and a zeitgeist capturing sensation to this very day.
Documentarian Bobbi Jo Hart’s new film Rebels on Pointe follows Les Ballets Trockadero on a world tour, discovering their worldwide fanbases and the artists behind the make-up. Despite being set in a drag inspired world, this feels as removed from the bitchiness associated with that culture as possible, as we find genuine warmth and affection between all group members.
Writer/director Max Emerson, a model and Instagram personality with a huge following, has crowdsourced the funds for his debut feature – with the aim of giving 50% of all proceeds to sponsored charities (The Albert Kennedy Trust, The Ali Forney Center, Los Angeles LGBT Centre and Lost n Found) that help homeless LGBTQ youth across America.
Jonny Mars plays Alex, a drifter who wades back in to his hometown with the aim of confronting the man who abused him sexually as a child. Upon tracking down his former abuser, finding that he is frail and crippled with physical and mental illness, his original vengeance quest is paused and he continues to lead an existence outside of mainstream society. He is, after all, a man of few words, devoting his free time to either making money pimping himself or other people out- and it should be noted, although this issue is handled with surprising restraint, that the sexual partners he tends to visit are all significantly older men, which could be interpreted as a reason for his relationship with his abuser to become more complicated.
Set backstage on the opening night of a new Broadway musical about one hit wonders, Opening Night stars Topher Grace as Nick, the miserable production manager of the show, just about managing to hide his disdain for the production and many of the people involved with it. As the show nears stage time, he struggles with the ego of his leading man, N*Sync’s JC Chasez who he finds out has also slept with his former girlfriend – who just happens to be the understudy to the leading actress.
Do You Take This Man, the narrative feature debut from writer/director Joshua Tunick, has an empathetic warmth that continues to grow as the film progresses – the story isn’t particularly innovative for the genre, but the characters are believable and their respective situations universally relatable, which helps make this story feel as utterly refreshing as it is heartwarming.
The Naked Civil Servant is camp and unabashedly so- but it has far more going on beneath the surface, and helped usher in more nuanced portrayals of LGBT people and culture in the years to come. It may be dated, but time hasn’t made it feel embarrassing in retrospect. It is still one of the most pivotal works in the LGBT pop culture canon that helped further mainstream awareness and acceptance.