Cast: Patrick Bauchau, Derek Magyar, Darryl Stephens, Jonathan Trent, Emily Brooke Hands
Director: Q. Allan Brocka
SUNY Purchase '05
"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore
Review By: Rocco Passafuime
In the decades since Stonewall riots of 1969 and the AIDS scare of the 1980's, gay America has made great strides in bridging the often unsettling gap in understanding with the rest of society at large. One of the ways they've been able to tell their stories is through the medium of independent film.
They allow filmmakers the incredible opportunity to present for everyone out there who is willing to see and hear it the agony and ecstasy of being gay. One such filmmaker Q. Allan Brocka has put together which is surely one of the more fascinating glimpses into the many different facets of the gay lifestyle, known as Boy Culture, which is now available on DVD.
In Seattle, a young male known only as X (Derek Magyar) makes a fairly comfortable living off of being gay as a prostitute. However, he shares with a wealthy and revealingly closeted client named Gregory Talbot (Patrick Bachau), who often serves more like a therapist to X, not having had any serious sexual experience since he first realized his attraction to other men, preferring to save himself "for someone special"Â.
He generously takes in roommates Andrew (Darryl Stephens), who just emerged from the closet, and the very young and flamboyant drifter Joey (Jonathon Trent). While Joey pines for X, X's feelings are for Andrew, but he is reticent to be openly admissive of the depths of them, due to his client Gregory's supposed tales of romantic heartache with his longtime lover. When Andrew is invited to attend the wedding of his ex-girlfriend, X goes along with him for the ride, which begins a slow and steady streaming out of the real core of X's closely guarded feelings for his roommate.
Boy Culture provides an incredibly fascinating window into different facets in the life of the gay male. For the viewer, it's a rather telling account of the trials and tribulations gay men often endure in the pursuit of love and companionship.
The roles are performed superbly by the three male actors. Derek Magyar delivers the right amount of acerbic wit mixed with nuanced emotion that makes the mostly rather cold X emerge as more and more an endearing figure.
Darryl Stephens hits all the right understatedly subtle notes as the more sensitive Andrew and Jonathon Trent reveals a rather innocent playfulness to the younger and more amorous Joey. While Boy Culture comes off a bit too overtly erotic at times, particularly with often rather blunt dialogue by Brocka and Philip Pierce, the film's mix of sardonic cynicism with sensitivity in telling its subject matter makes it a highly fascinating view for any sexual preference.
The DVD picture quality is in the 1:77:1 widescreen aspect ratio, with the sound quality in standard Dolby 2.0 Stereo. The DVD is also packed with plenty of special features.
The first special
The second feature is interviews with Brocka and actors Patrick Bachau, Darryl Stephens, Derek Magyar, and Jonathon Trent. Each of them provides fairly lengthy but highly engaging accounts of their experiences of working on the film.
The third feature is footage shot from Boy Culture's premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, including during the question and answer session with Brocka, Pierce, Magyar, and Trent. While rather amateurishly shot, it provides a great window into the going-ons of the film's premiere. Rounding out the special features are two deleted scenes cut from the final film that, while interesting, reveal their non-essentiality.
Boy Culture's rather frank eroticism may be a little much for some non-gay viewers. However, that very sheer honesty in how it tells its story coupled with great characters makes it a highly fascinating view. It's highly recommended for anybody looking for a window into just how complex finding love as a gay man in modern America can be.
Movie Grade: B
DVD Features Grade: B
Overall Grade: B