A gay European cruise might sound like a wild good time, but in the new documentary Dream Boat, writer-director Tristan Ferland Milewski doesn't focus on the frivolity, though there's plenty of that. Rather, he provides compelling profiles of the men who show up to board the ship because it represents a safe place. The movie screens at 7:30 on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Capitol Theatre as part of the Capitol's Fall Documentary Film Series.
You get the sense that Milewski could've centered on any one of the hundreds of guys and gotten an intriguing backstory out of him. But he chose to focus on five men from five different countries. Each man has a unique story about the problems he's faced in coming out of the closet and embracing his homosexuality. It hasn't been easy for any of them.
The men all talk about the persecution they faced in their respective countries. The cruise ship provides a great outlet that enables them to embrace their sexuality in ways they couldn't in their native lands. A passenger from India talks about what it's like to be on his first gay cruise, a Frenchman with disabilities aims to overcome his limitations (he even manages to scale the climbing wall), a Polish guy looks for his soulmate, a Palestinian man talks about the problems that his homosexuality has created with his friends and his family, and an Austrian photographer laments the fact that he can't find a meaningful relationship.
The warm weather means that most of the men dance topless. Across the board, the guys have marvelous, sculpted bodies, and Milewski continuously centers on their frames. We see men giving each other massages (and more) and oiling their bodies in the sun. One man jokes that he's like a "weathervane" because he's always turning to check out the various men on the cruise.
Set to a soundtrack of woozy electronic dance music, the movie possesses a hypnotic feel, especially when it includes scenes of half-naked men dancing, dizzying shots from above the boat or clips of guys dressing up in drag.