Recently I saw two gay films I have been urging my friends to watch.
First there's August (2011), which tells the story of Troy who returns to LA in the hope of reviving his relationship with his ex-lover Jonathan. They had a summer affair that ended bitterly but Troy wants to give it a second chance. Jonathan, who is now involved with Raul, is at first resistant to Troy's moves but the temptation is a bit hard to resist.
One of the film's insights is that when lovers stray from their relationships, it's not always because they're inherently cheating pricks or that they mean to hurt their partners. Cheating may happen when a person allows things to spiral down from a series of whimsical decisions, sometimes just to quell a curiosity just like in Jonathan's case.
There's nothing ground-breaking about the film, but what's interesting is how some of the circumstances in the tangled relationships of the three main characters seem familiar to us through our friends or even through first-hand experiences.
It does not hurt of course that the actors in the movie are as hot as summer in August.
And then there's the much-hyped gay movie of 2011, Weekend. This is yet another familiar story of one-night stands among gay men. We've been all through that at one point or another.
What seemed like a single encounter flourished into a deeper connection between Russel and Glen as they explore their pasts and experiences as gay men. On the latter, they discuss a bit of the politics of being gay in modern Britain. In fact there's a lot of talking in the movie, which is why some people have called it the gay Before Sunset.
And just like in Before Sunset, Russel and Glen also grapple with the reality that their relationship is short-lived. So there's a very subdued tension between them while they make the most of what little time they have.
The actors have exceptional chemistry, helped, ironically, by the contrasting personalities of their characters: Russel's pensiveness and Glen's detachment.
Again, there are no breakthroughs in this film, but it excels in treating a familiar subject with deeper sensitivity and complexity than most gay movies I've seen.
Good news is both films are now available for download.