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.
With Handsome Devil, writer/director John Butler, reprises the poignant reflection on the meaning of masculinity he had explored in his fun 2013 debut The Stag (aka The Bachelor Party) but this time he takes the diatribe back to high school – a rugby-obsessed, all-boys boarding school to be precise – and by his own admission infuses the story with inevitable autobiographical references.
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.
The Lair is a campy fun soap opera that ran for three seasons mainly centered around a coven of gay vampires operating a sex club to lure their prey. Each season is full of subplots with a Dorian Gray-like portrait, an abusive boyfriend, a werewolf, a mad scientist, a killer plant, a Gorgon, a killer head, a magic ring and a disgruntled Vampiress. Oh yeah… and there’s a lot of hot guys and sex!
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.
Shot entirely in black and white, Verow’s film carries an interesting film noir feel to it. V is the unfortunate victim of circumstance, locked in an ever-present battle with the villainous Shawnith. A string of sexually motivated young men float in and out of V’s life until Christian arrives – the unexpected femme fatale, or male fatale as it were.
Scrutinising complex and far-reaching topics like gay military relationships, refugee policies and homophobia in the Middle East, Out Of Iraq is a beautifully gripping and heartwarming account of a truly unique and inspiring love affair and its journey to becoming a protected and legalised marriage.