“Free Fall” (2013)
German; English sub-titles

100 mins, Wolfe Video

“Free Fall” has been described as Germany's answer to “Brokeback Mountain.” While there are thematic similarities between the two films, both are undoubtedly distinct, yet still impactful.

In “Brokeback,” both men are ashamed of their gay identities. Married to women, they go to great pains to hide the truth not only from their families, but from themselves. In “Free Fall,” police officer Kay, played by Hanno Koffler, has fully embraced his sexuality. He enters into a love affair with partner Marc, portrayed by Max Reimelt, lustfully and without shame.

While Kay hangs out in gay bars, Marc goes home to his pregnant wife, who interrogates him about where he spends his time and why their sex life is fizzling out.

As the truth begins to unravel, Marc goes into free fall and his life rapidly falls apart.

While “Brokeback Mountain” made it clear that the protagonists were having sex, “Free Fall” shows its leads fully naked in bed as they moan with delight. The kissing scenes are deep and passionate.

Perhaps it took films like “Brokeback,” and others, to kick the doors kick the doors open for mainstream LGBT cinema. In 2014, it's now OK to show two men making love as two men do.

The acting in “Free Fall” is superb. Handsome and sexy, Reimelt, in his early 30s, is a popular German actor. His work in “Free Fall” is stellar.

Marc is a happy family man who’s unaware of his fluid sexuality until he meets Kay.

At first he's repulsed by the other man's advances, yet he's unable to resist. When confronted by his wife, he desperately tries to hold on to his family even as his attraction to Kay grows.

“Free Fall” is a dark, intense and superbly acted drama with message that is sure to resonate with the LGBT community. It speaks to the greater mass too; accept and embrace your sexual identity. If not, the consequences could be steep not only for yourself, but for everyone around you.

“Fujimi Orchestra: Cold Front Conductor”
Japanese; English sub-titles
83 minutes, Ariztical Entertainment

Fujimi Orchestra: Cold Front Conductor” is a disturbing Japanese film whose theme and message may not fully translate across different cultures. Inspired by a comic book series, the story was first filmed as an animated film. The new film is a live action remake of the animated version.

Main character Kei is a brilliant, young classical music prodigy who appears to be destined for musical greatness.

He gives it all up so he can conduct an amateur orchestra in a small town but the reasons for this are unnerving. Exceptionally good looking, Kei is obsessively in love with Yuki, a straight, socially awkward member of the orchestra. As the plot unfolds, they enter in to a battle of wills with Kei pushing Yuki to improve his marginal musical skills.

Unable to control his sexual urges, Kei brutally rapes Yuki and, though disgusted by the act, Yuki becomes more determined to hone his musical talents.

Confused?

The character’s motivations appear to make little sense. Why doesn't Yuki call the police? Why is the brilliantly talented and handsome Kei (who’d would get mobbed in any gay bar) so obsessed with the decidedly nerdy Yuki?

The heart wants what it wants as the saying goes, but the rape scene leaves such an unpleasant aftertaste, the story can become somewhat difficult to follow.