Linger at home with gay festival fare that really keeps you company in Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo, and Seed Money
By Gregg Shapiro
Some movies just don’t get their due attention until they hit the DVD and pay-per-view market. That goes double for LGBT fare, and triple if that fare is super, uber, double-extra sexy.
That’s just as well in this case, because you’ll want to be able to linger with these two titles and revisit them in ways you just couldn’t in the theater, whether you caught either of these two gay gems in the theater the first time or not. (Both selections played Atlanta’s Out on Film in 2016).
So turn out the lights and cue up two gay movies you won’t want to miss.
Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo (Europa/Epicentre, top photo)
Co-written and co-directed by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau, this is a timely and sensitive reminder of the current state of things in the world of gay sex.
The lengthy, erotically-charged and sexually graphic opening sequence takes place in a sex club where the red-lit lower level is swarming with writhing naked men engaging in various sex acts.
Curly-haired Théo (Geoffrey Couët) can’t take his eyes off of hot Hugo (François Nambot) and when they finally hook-up, awhirl in the heat of the moment, they engage in unsafe behavior. Afterwards, upstairs, they retrieve their clothes, get dressed and leave the club together. It’s 4:47 a.m.
Riding bikes through the city, they talk about the connection they felt and how it was different. On the way to Hugo’s apartment, Théo admits it was his first time at a sex club. Further discussion reveals that they didn’t use a condom and that Hugo is HIV+. Hugo calls the AIDS hotline and is directed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital.
They exchange phone numbers. Théo insists on going to the hospital alone. Hugo texts him relentlessly. It is 5:02 a.m. Théo registers at hospital. Hugo arrives and tells Théo he’s in treatment and that his viral load is undetectable. Hugo stays with Théo and he begins the treatment regimen because he didn’t want him to be alone, as he was, when he got his test results.
At 5:25 a.m., after leaving the hospital, Théo and Hugo get to know each other even more intimately than they did before, filling in the pieces of their lives for each other. You can watch them slowly becoming involved with the other in a way that is reminiscent of Andrew Haigh’s Weekend. Romantic and revelatory, Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo is strongly recommended. In French with English subtitles. DVD bonus features include Daniel Maggio’s short film The Glory Hole.
Seed Money (Breaking Glass, left)
This cleverly titled doc about the late gay porn entrepreneur Chuck Holmes, co-founder of Falcon Studios, is as sexy as it is informative.
Indiana-native Holmes, considered to be the gay Hugh Hefner, understood what Middle America was missing. A collector of 8mm porn loops, Holmes came out fast in San Francisco.
The landmark 1969 Supreme Court obscenity ruling paved the way the birth of the mail order porn industry. Holmes found good gay filmmakers, as well as better models and locations, allowing the genre to evolve from badly produced loops to full-length features, while celebrating the new gay freedoms of a post-Stonewall world at the same time. The home video revolution only increased Holmes’ success, while the AIDS crisis had serious consequences.
Writer/director Michael Stabile’s feature-length doc debut is a respectful and respectable portrait of Holmes. Stabile’s interview subjects, including porn legend Jeff Stryker, Jake Shears, Chi Chi LaRue, John Waters, Steve Scarborough (Falcon VP from 1986-93), actors Tom Chase, Jim Bentley and Steve Cruz, John Rutherford (Falcon VP from 1993-2002) and many others go a long way in illuminating the story of Holmes and Falcon. DVD bonus features include a deleted scene, as well as extended interviews with Waters, Chase, LaRue, Stryker and others.