In the 2004 film Brother to Brother directed by Rodney Evans, an unconventional friendship forms between young artist Perry (played by Anthony Mackie) and the former Harlem Renaissance-era writer, now-homeless Bruce Nugent (played by Roger Robinson).
Directed by Canadian John Palmer and based on the short stories by Bruce La Bruce, the 2004 movie Sugar features Andre Noble as a relatively sheltered suburban teenager named Cliff who is brought into the manic whirl of rough urban life by a street hustler named Butch (Brendan Fehr) and the ensuing complexity of their romance. Also in the movie are Marnie McPhail as Cliff’s mother Madge and Haylee Wanstail in the role of his sister Cookie.
The made-for-television drama-romance movie You’ll Get Over It (À cause d’un garcon) is a 2002 release directed by Fabrice Cazeneuve. At the center of it all is Julien Baumgartner as Vincent Molina, who comes out as gay to a school friend and finds himself in a social tangle, having to explain to his ex-girlfriend Noemie (Julia Paraval) and father Bernard (Patrick Bonnel) the circumstances of his newly claimed identity.
With increasing political and social justice movements emerging and the trans community receiving more and more pop culture exposure, you might begin to think that going against the grain of society’s gender compliances is not only accepted nowadays, but also praised and somewhat glamorized. Unfortunately, for many LGBTQ members this is merely another glorified media representation that has little to do with the reality of what trans people encounter and deal with on a daily basis.
Broken Sky (El cielo dividido) written and directed by Julian Hernandez, is a Mexican drama film that was released in 2006. Following the hectic relationship between two gay students and their consequent temptations, the film stars Miguel Angel Hope, Fernando Arroyo and features Ignacio Pereda and Alejandro Rojo.
Marcelo Caetano is a newcomer, but ambitious feature director who has a fascinating approach to gay cinema and LGBTQ relationships. His debut, Body Electric, is a candid and tender tribute to Brazil’s racial and sexual heterogeneity, as well as an unbridled, sincere addition to this year’s BFI Flare Festival.
Released in 2008, this Spanish feature film follows a young man who has recently been released from prison. Starring Israel Rodríguez, Clandestinos was co-written and directed by Antonio Hens. With heavy influences of Guerrilla filmmaking, the thriller is an expressive blend of marginalization, love, terrorism and police corruption.
The Masseur (Masahista) is the debut feature film directed and co-written by Brillante Mendoza. Released in 2005, the film stars Coco Martin, Jaclyn Jose and Allan Paule. Set in a male-only massage parlor, Masahista tells the tale of a young man trying to survive poverty by offering massage and sexual services.
There’s nothing quite as enticing as this year’s BFI Festival selection – Center Of My World, along with its fascinating cinematography, remains one of my personal favorites due to its candid and refreshing approach to gay relationships, as well as its memorable and enveloping performances. Despite using a teenagey framework, which could have easily diverted the film into a bland kitsch romance, Erwa sets the bar high and proves that any type of setting can be molded into a masterpiece with the right tools and sensibility.