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'Human Ken Doll' Plans On Releasing Meta-Dolls Of Himself

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Ever heard of Valeria Lukyanova, the Ukranian “Human Barbie Doll?” She has a Brazilian male counterpart who is being touted as “the Human Ken doll” — 20-year-old Celso Santebanes.

After family members told Santebanes that he resembled the Barbie’s plastic boyfriend, he invested over $54,000 on four surgeries to augment his chest, chin, jaw and nose. Now he’s amassing followers on his Instagram and Facebook and reportedly plans on releasing “Celso Dolls” for his fans.

A man who looks like a doll, releasing dolls that look like himself — talk about meta.

He’s also pursuing a modeling career, but has said, “I’m only 90 percent of what I want to be,” adding “I intend to do more surgeries, but do not know what. For now my investment is being in the gym, for Ken is strong and I am skinny.”

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Review: Exuberant Coming-Of-Age Dramedy ‘The Way He Looks’ Charts Blind Teen’s First Love

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BY JOSEPH EHRMAN-DUPRE

Buoyant, clever, sensitive; words can do very little to express the exuberance and authenticity of Daniel Ribeiro’s near-perfect debut feature, The Way He Looks, based on his 2010 short film with the same cast and premise. The film screened this week at NYC's NewFest. A coming-of-age dramedy with a highly original narrative, the movie’s title is provocative for calling into question the ways we “see” the ones we love and just how narrow our worldview may be.

WayHeLooks2At the center of a sun-dappled, pastel-colored Sao Paulo, Brazil is Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo, right), a teenager who was born blind and bears the brunt of several surly bullies' wrath at his suburban high school. He longs for independence from his overbearing parents “like every teenager” director Ribeiro was quick to point out at the film’s talkback. His only real friend is Giovana (Tess Amorim, below left), a neighbor and classmate; they adore each other and spend every day together. Their routine is interrupted by the arrival of a cute new student, Gabriel (Fabio Audi, below right), who becomes fast friends with the pair. When Gabriel and Leonardo pair up for a school project, though, Giovana quickly becomes jealous, and the two boys grow even closer. 

It’d be a shame to give away too much more, but suffice to say that the film takes unexpected romantic turns while retaining a bubbly and heart-warming sheen. It won the Audience Award at NewFest for good reason. The applause following its screening was deafening.

WayHeLooks3Perhaps the most engaging element of the film is the way it film negotiates Leo’s blindness. We are constantly reminded that Leo cannot see the world around him, or even the people he is closest to in his life. One spooky dream sequence finds him interacting with shadowy black-and-white figures of his classmates, but otherwise the film plays with the idea that sound is Leo’s most prominent sense, and that the people around him are privileged to be able to see. When he and Gabriel go to the movies, the camera lingers on their mouths as he describes what is happening on screen, and the sounds of the cheesy sci-fi film are heightened; at another point, Gabriel and Leo sneak out to “watch” a lunar eclipse, a concept which Gabriel struggles to explain to someone who has never seen one.  Leo’s blindness is, therefore, a prominent plot point, one which heightens the tension surrounding he and Gabriel’s relationship with Giovana and each other.

At the film’s talkback, Ribeiro discussed the different vision of love that he hoped the film could present, one based not on the pretense of physical attraction and visual memory, or on fixed notions of sexual orientation. The Way He Looks is not a coming out film in any sense; the word “gay” is never used, Ribeiro stated proudly. Instead he sees it is a natural experience of romantic interest, that someone should fall in love with a person without the confines of a specific label. In this sense, Ribeiro recognized that his film is an ideal vision, though that does not mean the characters exit the narrative unscathed.

WayHeLooks4The Way He Looks deals frankly with jealousy, bullying, parent-child conflicts, and confusing sexual desires. There are tough scenes, and despite the sunny lensing and cheery outlook, every character has faults. Still, rarely have I left a theater feeling as fulfilled, or as happy to have gotten to know the characters on screen. Perhaps because the film’s love story, constrained by lost sight, is the most original, sensitive, and touching one to come along in quite some time.

Watch the film's trailer as well as the original short film (which *spoiler alert* gives away the whole movie), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Review: Exuberant Coming-Of-Age Dramedy ‘The Way He Looks’ Charts Blind Teen’s First Love" »


NewFest Films: 'Futuro Beach' and 'Gerontophilia'

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Bruce LaBruce's newest provocation is intergenerational romance

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Help, he’s drowning! In good movies so don’t rush to the rescue. Both the opening and closing night films of this week’s satisfying NewFest (July 24th-29th), NYC's annual LGBT film festival in partnership with OutFest, begin with a drowning. Both drownings become romantic catalysts for the lifeguard, but the films couldn’t be more different in tone or purpose so it’s surely a coincidence. NewFest got the order right, opening with the dramatic punch and ending with a sweet drive into the sunset.

In the Brazilian/German film FUTURO BEACH, which opens the annual LGBT film festival tomorrow, two tourists are hit by violent waves. Lifeguards rush in to save them but only one survives. Donato (Wagner Moura) shaken up by losing his first swimmer, seeks out the survivor's friend, a sporty motorbike enthusiast named Konrad (Clemens Schick) to explain the process for dealing with the body. Soon they're angrily rutting, caught up in the disorienting and wrenching drama. Their hookup appears destined to burn bright and die quick due to its emotionally disconnected start and its rapid and frank visual presentation -- English language cinema still lags far behind European cinema in its depictions of sex; the full frontal here is presented as if it’s no big deal.

MORE ON BOTH FILMS AFTER THE JUMP...

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Anti-Discrimination 'Task Force' Needed For 2018 World Cup In Russia

FIFA report into anti-gay chants at the World Cup

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has said that a special task force will be needed to deal with homophobia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, reports DNA India.

Although FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff had pledged to use this year’s World Cup as a platform against racism and discrimination, FIFA has awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia despite the implementation of anti-gay laws in the country.

FIFA has also failed to properly address homophobic and racist chants at World Cup fixtures.

Speaking at FIFA’s daily media briefing, Jeffrey Webb, the organization's vice president and head of the Anti-Discrimination Task Force, said:

"It is obvious there is a disconnect between what we in the Task Force deem as racism and discrimination and what the Disciplinary Committee deems as racism and discrimination."

According to DNA India, a proposed Task Force that trained anti-discrimination officers was not accepted by FIFA. Another official said that although there was not enough time to train anti-discrimination officers for this year’s World Cup, training will start for future events.

Watch a report on the investigation of anti-gay chants by Mexico fans, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Discrimination 'Task Force' Needed For 2018 World Cup In Russia" »


FIFA Decides Anti-Gay Slurs are Okay, Drops Case Against Mexican Fans

 

MEXICO COACH DEFENDS USE OF ANTI-GAY SLUR BY WORLD CUP FANS

Yesterday we reported that Mexico was under investigation by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) after fans chanted the abusive term “puto” during Mexico’s win over Cameroon on June 13. "Puto" is the Spanish word for a male prostitute, "fag" or "coward", and a derogatory term for gay men.

However, FIFA has decided to take no action against the Mexican football federation as the chant “is not considered insulting in this specific context.”

FIFA has now dismissed the charge as “improper conduct.”

LunaSpeaking to MVS Radio, Mexican actor and producer Diego Luna said that he heard the homophobic chant at the World Cup in Germany in 2006. Luna went on to say "soccer is a reflection of what we are in many ways. We live in a classist, racist, homophobic society into which we are very assimilated, that's all. I'm not really proud about that."

Although FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff had pledged to use the World Cup as a platform against racism and discrimination, FIFA has awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar, despite human rights abuses in those countries and Russia’s 2013 decision to pass anti-gay laws.


Top Brazilian Bishop Endorses Civil Unions for Gay Couples

Leonardo_SteinerThe secretary general of the National Confederation of Brazilian Bishops has endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples, becoming the first national church leader to do so since Pope Francis suggested back in March that the Catholic Church might consider supporting such arrangements.

BuzzFeed reports:

“There needs to be a dialog on the rights of shared life between people of the same sex who decide to live together. They need legal support from society,” Bishop Leonardo Steiner said.

Steiner made clear the church still opposes marriage for same-sex couples, which Brazil’s National Council of Justice made legal last year. “The difficulty is in deciding that marriages of people of the same sex are equivalent to marriage or family,” Steiner said, adding that he believes the measure should have been voted on by congress instead of being enacted by the judiciary.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of gay relationships, but certainly a step in the right direction.  


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