Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Lothaire Bluteau, Clive Owen, Mick Jagger, Brian Webber, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Director: Sean Mathias
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Renowned British stage director Sean Mathias directs Martin Sherman's "powerful and provocative" (The New York Times) screenplay about one man's struggle to maintain his dignity while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration cam... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
Bent...but not broken.
Eric A. Klee | Charlotte, NC USA | 06/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WOW. What an amazing story. Yes, we've all seen stories about Nazi Germany...and most have been very well done. Similar to "The Pianist," this story follows the life of one man as he's rounded up for a concentration camp. This story provides a unique twist on the treatment of those deemed unworthy in the eyes of the Nazi regime -- not because he's Jewish, but because he's gay. If anyone's ever wondered where the pink triangle became a symbol of the gay community, you'll find it here. I won't go into details about the story because you can read that in the description. However, I will say that this was a VERY well made movie and finally captures a new side of the Nazi terrorism -- the plight of gays. Another plus is that the movie is story-driven rather than sex-driven like many gay movies. You'll actually get to know the characters and appreciate them for who they are...not who they do. Therefore, I highly recommend this movie for gay and straight viewers."
Crucified by the Gestapo
JGC | 04/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BENT has an all-star cast that stars British actor ("Derailed" star), Clive Owen as the movie's resident hero and lost soul, Max. Music legend, Mick Jagger has a small part playing a female impersonator who disappears after the first 15 minutes. Lothaire Bluteau plays sentimental Horst, and Brian Webber is poor, innocent Rudy.
Even though the movie is ten years old I never heard of it until last week. It's still an awesome movie because it tells such a powerful story. BENT tells the tragic tale of two homosexual men in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany during the 30's. When I first heard of this movie I thought that BENT was a weird title. But I think that after watching it anyone will agree that it's a very appropriate title.
The first 30 minutes of the movie are somewhat slow-moving. It shows Berlin before Nazi Germany took over. As you know, during this time in Berlin men danced with men and women danced with women and all were free to be happy and gay. At first sight, it's almost reminiscent of the classic film, "Grand Hotel." And I soon wished that there would be some dialogue and something interesting to watch because it seemed like the beginning was really dragging on.
Max was a foolish man to bring home another man that he met the night before, Wolf (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.) Sadly, when the Nazis break in, Wolf's demise is quick and brutal.
Max and Rudy try to get out of Germany because they are both homosexual men living in a country that wants them treated in the most inhumane ways possible. In the concentration camps homosexual men are the very, very lowest of the low. So, Max and Rudy have to sleep in the woods, or as Rudy calls it, the "jungle" while they race for a way out of Germany. As Rudy embraces Max to profess his love the Nazis come running towards them.
Both men are put on a train heading to a concentration camp. I don't want to give too much away but the train scenes are among the most vulgar and hardest to watch. I can't imagine that hell is any worse than what my gay brothers and sisters had to go through during the Holocaust. I think this movie was originally rated NC-17, and although I am very grateful that this story is being told I am also grateful that I only watched the cable TV version (which was still sad enough.)
Max has to tell the Gestapo that Rudy is not his friend (i. e. lover); for his own (temporary) safety. Clive Owen gave an especially momentous performance during the train scenes because it was obvious that he was trying to get Rudy out of his head (but could not.) Max first meets Horst on their "train trip to purgatory" and Horst tells him that he must not get close to anyone if he wants to survive in this place. Now I know why this picture is called BENT.
At the concentration camp, Max bribed one of the guards so he could work with Horst. Their mundane job is to move huge boulders back and forth, all day. The only purpose of this task is to make them emotionally and physically weak.
Even under such adverse conditions, Max and Horst fall in love. But they can never touch each other or even look at each other. They can never hold one another's hand or feel the other's breath. If one of the Nazis saw either man in even the most innocent intimate embrace or even having casual contact he would surely be dead.
So, instead both men talk to each other. They have a love affair in their minds. My favorite parts are when Max and Horst were working alone and able to talk to each other. At least in their minds they could love each other and not be afraid of the consequences.
Clive Owen's performance in this film was absolutely perfect. I am not an actor, but maybe it's easier for actors to act when they are surrounded with talent, and the rest of the cast was also flawless. Max totally reminded me of Ennis Del Mar. Both men had so much pent-up self-hate. However, Max's was much more fundamental, and twisted. It became evident that the abuse the Nazis inflected on Max's mind was just as brutal and barbaric as the physical corruption that they generously dished out. Clive Owen should've gotten an Oscar nod for his portrayal of Max. (I guess in 1997 it wasn't politically correct to give gay movies Oscars?)
Why is BENT so tragic and sad? Because it is true. The movie's realism will haunt you for days (or even weeks.) The characters are fictional, but be assured it did happen. This movie reminded of a very powerful book, "Behold A Pale Horse." This was a book based on true events which also describes a gay love story during the Holocaust.
Who do I recommend this movie to? Anyone. Not just the gay community, but to all of humanity. Anyone that has any feeling will bleed for these poor men: Wolf, Rudy, Max, Horst; and the thousands and thousands of homosexuals that were tortured and murdered for no other reason than for being born gay.
The Movie's The Thing...
Gregor von Kallahann | 12/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I first started reading film criticism, while still in my teens, I remember being, at first, surprised that and then understanding of why many critics were wary of films adapted from stage plays. At first blush, film seems to be a logical extension of the stage, but then when you take into account the unique aspects of both genres, you realize that they are, in many ways, worlds apart. Despite the cinema's (ever increasing) ability to create astonishing special effects, it is the more naturalistic of the two genres. A scene that takes place in the great outdoors can be shot in the great outdoors. With the camera focusing in for close-ups, actors don't have to rely on grand gestures or declamatory oration to convey their meaning.The standard term among movie makers and their critics for the changes that have to be made to successfully adapt a stage play to the cinema is "opening it up." You have to get it off the stage and into the world. Sometimes it works, and sometimes they fall flat. But the cinematic beast is hungry for narrative and stage plays (along with novels, short stories, lesser known foreign films, and nowadays old comic strips and TV shows) continue to provide it fodder.Everything I knew about the play BENT did not make it seem promising for film adaptation. I was wrong. Although I've never seen the stage version, one can almost envision it from watching the film. One can also pretty much guess what changes have been made, where things have been embellished and what cinematic tricks have been thrown in to spice things us. So that makes it pretty transparent, right? And therefore not such a great film.Well, yes and no. The film doesn't achieve actual greatness, I suppose. But even though it's a bit stagey, perhaps, in some ways, it compensates brilliantly for it in other ways. First off, the cinematography is brilliant and no doubt brings a quite different perspective to the drama. The acting is also top notch. I had never seen Clive Owen in anything before--although judging from the reviews posted here, he has quite a fan base. Deservedly so, I'd say based on his performance he turns in here. His character, Max, makes the transition from callow sensualist to self-sacrificing hero believably--and in relatively few scenes. Equally good is French-Canadian actor, Lothaire Bluteau, as Horst, Max's soul-mate and (platonic?) lover. The scene in which they "make love" without touching is quietly powerful--and emblematic of the differences between the cinema and the stage discussed above. Here the actors work with close-ups and with their voices, they cannot gesture because they're being watched. Whatever the stage actors did in the equivalent scene had to be different--even if it was just as effective. They were denied the close-ups that these two actors take great advantage of.The true test of a film's power is whether or not you'll be thinking about it the next day, or the next week. BENT passes that test hands down. It stays with you--and likely will for a long time.(PS--Just to follow up on a review posted below. One reviewer didn't understand the relevance of the scene in the park with Ian McKellan. I can understand the confusion, as the sound seemed unnecessarily muffled at this point in the film. It is a bit sketchy, but it's fairly clear McKellan's character is Max's uncle, who while also gay, is closeted and, unlike Max himself, not estranged from their (apparently wealthy) family. He offers Max forged papers, which the family has been able to obtain for him to facilitate his escape from Germany. Max is,however, adamant that they also obtain papers for his lover as well, an early signal that he is not just the callow and selfish hedonist he seemed to be in the film's opening scenes--which makes his ultimate transformation by the film's end all the more plausible.)"
Don't Let "Bent" Fall Through the Cracks Again
J P Ryan | Waltham, Massachusetts United States | 11/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many reviewers have made insightful comments about the new-to-DVD "Bent" in this space. I first saw the film version of what was originally a play in 1998, shortly after its release. Now it is released again and I've given it a second look. It remains as powerful, and underrated, as ever. Though you sometimes can't escape the fact that it began its life on the stage, "Bent" is a success as cinema, with superb cinematography and powerfully understated performances by the entire cast--including the splendid Mick Jagger, as Greta, who embodies the rudderless, urban, hyperstylized post WWI-era Berlin so vividly depicted in Christopher Isherwood's "Berlin Diaries 1929 - 1939. Jagger's pitch perfect,mannered performance of "Streets Of Berlin" is quite haunting, and his "mask" of a woman, intentionally transparent, gone in place of expediency when he perfoms a careless (rather than malevolent) act of duplicity that would surely be avenged brutally. R.W. Fassbinder, had he lived to direct this work, may have made it as deliberately 'theatrical' as his adaptation of Genet's "Querelle," but I doubt it: I wish he lived long enough to give us his version. But "Bent" is a film for those who love cinema and are willing to see a powerful film about love and redemption: don't believe it is a "gay" movie or a "holocaust" film - see it and be moved."