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DVD Shorts: Euro-erotica from the ’60s

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The Radley Metzger Collection, Sugar, Dodgeball, and many more.

By Eric Dieckman, Lance Scott Walker, and Suzie Lynde

The Radley Metzger Collection
This trilogy of discs—Therese and Isabelle, The Alley Cats, and Camille 2000 —showcases this ’60s Euro-erotica director’s least explicit work. But it is the story behind his films that truly shine here, not the skin, and that is most evident in Therese and Isabelle, a lovely story of young lesbian love in all its experimental glory. Timeless? No, but each of these films is a child of the ’60s, and that’s exactly what makes us look back on them so fondly. From First Run Features (www.firstrunfeatures.com). —Lance Scott Walker

Sugar
Cliff (Andre Noble) is a run-of-the-mill restless suburban teen looking for a new experience on the eve of his 18th birthday. As a gift, his kid sister gives him a mini-bottle of vodka, a joint, a subway token, and instructions to, “Go have sex.” Butch (Brendan Fehr) is a street hustler. His cup overfloweth with new experiences. Why not share his cup a little and give Cliff a life-altering sip? A provocative and challenging coming-of-age story, Cliff must choose between following Butch’s downward spiral of johns and drugs and accepting that he is powerless to save Butch from himself. 2004. Directed by John Palmer. From TLA Releasing (www.tlareleasing.com). —Eric Dieckman

Dodgeball
You’ll dodge, duck, dip, dive, and laugh out loud watching Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller settle their differences in a winner-take-all dodgeball competition. Under the painful tutelage of legendary dodgeball champ Patches O’Hou-lihan (Rip Torn), Peter LeFleur (Vaughn) and his Average Joes   take on the Purple Cobras, led by egomaniacal fitness guru White Goodman (Stiller). It’s an over-the-top underdog tale filled with hilarious sight gags and balls-out fun. So where’s the gaiety?
Well, so as not to spoil the fun, just know that there’s a big gay ending. 2004. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. From 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (www.foxhome.com). —Suzie Lynde

Goldfish Memory
An omnisexual romantic comedy centered on a young group of love-lorn Dubliners. When Clara (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) catches her boy-friend in the midst of a kiss with Isolde (Fiona Glascott), a chain of romances and heartbreaks in her circle of friends begins. Each charac-ter has a different definition of the perfect relationship. Some are commitment-hounds, favoring marriage; others prefer romantic sampler platters, keeping lovers one week at a time. All fall in and out of love and learn from their mistakes, but will anyone actually change? 2003. Written and directed by Liz Gill, who sharpened her chops working as an assistant to directors Martin Scorsese and openly gay Todd Haynes. Available January 18 from Wolfe Video (www.WolfeVideo.com). —ED

El Mar
Two boys (Andreu and Manuel) and a girl in the Spanish Civil War are involved in the death of two other boys, one killed, the other a suicide. This terrible secret will be with them for all their lives. Years pass and they meet in a hospital for tuberculosis treat-ment. The girl (Antónia Torrens) is now a nun, Andreu (Roger Casamajor) a thief, and Manuel (Bruno Bergonzini) obsessed by religion. Set in Malorca, Spain, reality is too hard to feel; the sea is their only consolation, where all is quiet. 2000. Directed by Agustín Villaronga. Catalan with English and Spanish subtitles. From Picture This! Home Video (www.PictureThisEnt.com). —ED

Transfixed
Abused by his father, Bo (Robin-son Stévenin) flees home. In the city of Brussels, he becomes a transsexual prostitute. Like many people involved in sketchy life-styles with abusive pasts, Bo becomes involved in yet another abusive relationship with a > neighbor. As problems escalate, she finds herself held suspect by the police in a series of transsexual murders. In order to clear herself, she must become her own detective. 2001. Directed by Francis Girod. French with English subtitles. From Picture This! Home Video (www.PictureThisEnt.com). —ED

Key West: City of Color
This proud documentary entails Gilbert Baker, the gay Betsy Ross, and the creation and unfurling of the 8,000-foot-long, three-ton Rainbow flag made in observation of the flag’s 25th anniversary. The flag itself, when waving in its six-color glory, reaches from the Gulf of Mexico through Key West, to the Atlantic Ocean. The individual stories of the diverse individuals who came together
to make the flag and event happen symbolize the power of the diverse cultures that symbolically enforce the strength of the flag’s stripes. 2004. Directed by Tal-madge Heyward. From Picture This! Home Video (www.PictureThisEnt.com). —ED

Lost in Pershing Hotel
Actor/writer/producer Leslie Jordan (Sordid Lives, Will & Grace) stars in his own semi-autobiographical story of a homosexual who overdoses in the Pershing Point Hotel and revives, stuck in gay man’s Purgatory, plead-ing his case before God. Jordan’s monologue weaves the testimonies of Tripper (Mark Pelligrino), a comely hustler, and Miss Make Do (Erin Chandler), a destitute debutante. The dark comedy traces an escape from Southern Baptist oppres-sion to a pilgrimage of salvation found in ’70s gay Atlanta. Look for ’70s/early ’80s icons Marilu Henner and John Ritter. 2000. Directed by Julia Jay Pierrepont III. Available January 11 from Ariztical Entertainment Group (www.ariztical.com). —ED

Blue Citrus Hearts
Sam (Joshua Peter Laurenzi) and Julien (Paul Foster) stand by each other through the hell that is high school–overbearing classmates, stuffy teachers, and family life. An honest film about high school angst, the two young men are further catapulted into inner torment when they simultaneously encounter their first loves–each other. Though neither sees it coming, it’s undeniable. Just look at the stars shooting about them and all the life-outta-kilter Dutch angle shots. How do you fend off a love that vibrant? 2003. Written and directed by Morgan Jon Fox. Available January 11 from Ariztical Entertainment Group (www.ariztical.com). —ED

Locked Up
Shot as Gefangen , this drama exhibits vulnerability and the need for comfort in exceptionally antagonistic surroundings. Dennis (Marcel Schlütt) is a new Caucasian inmate. Mike (Mike Sale) is an older black inmate. Dennis seeks solace and escape through a tender relationship with Mike causing the two to deal with hostile prison officials and inmates in their attempts to become a loving couple. Can they be together? Or will they torn apart by rape and murder? The film was shot in an abandoned East German prison, lending a stark visual authenticity not typically found in films of this caliber.
2004. Written and directed by Jörg Andreas. German with English subtitles. From TLA Releasing (www.tlareleasing.com). —ED

Summer Thunder
28-year-old Billy Lee Tucker (Matthew Sandager) hides from his tabloid-titillating past. Spending more than a decade under an alias, he works afternoons as a janitor/fluffer for Peach Fuzz Pictures. But when the 20th anniversary of the nasty accident that led to his anonymity leads to media nostalgia, his scars (both emotional and physical) return to the surface. Not-so-good friends return to the fray. The backstabbing Lola (Jessica Burstein), former school bully and recovering alcoholic Bud (David McMahan), and the enabling Pharmacist John (Neil Levine) add to the torment. Why can’t people just leave Billy Lee and what little the hot-tub accident left of his penis alone? 2003. Written and directed by Spencer Lee Schilly. From TLA Releasing (www.tlareleasing.com). —ED

Plug Lady
Finally, a film so obscure and experimental, it’s nowhere to be found on the Internet Movie Database. “The Plug Lady” is the onstage persona of a young Midwest man who moves to NYC in hopes of making her mark as a drag queen. She realizes she wants to be a woman full-time and develops a nurturing relationship with the owner of a drag cabaret. Soon our lady in heels stumbles into a tempestuous relationship with a drug dealer, finding the need for an out and the discovery of her true self. From Ariztical Entertainment Group (www.ariztical.com). —ED

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