Filmmaker Tristan Ferland Milewski dives deep into the culture of the gay ocean cruise, specifically the “Dream Boat,” a luxury liner that provides an all-gay, week-long, once a year vacation through the Mediterranean Sea. To be sure, Milewski knows his audience and provides a visual feast of hard-bodied, sun-worshipping men wearing tiny pool attire that would make a merman blush. It is made quite apparent that sex is the ultimate destination for many of the guests. Not since the Love Boat, have so many tipsy tourists stumbled into and out of each other’s cabins.
It is when Dream Boat navigates the lives of a diverse group of passengers that the film becomes as The Village Voice notes, a “sincere and reverent feature documentary debut.” The five men profiled differ not only in their ethnicity, but also in their unique backgrounds. For many onboard, this is a rare safe space at sea. The youngest of the group, Marek, 24, is a muscular personal trainer from conservative Poland who is looking for more than casual hook-ups. Indian Dipankar and Palestinian Ramzi, both in their early 30’s, are enjoying experiences that would be dangerous in their home countries. We also get up close and personal with Martin, 42, an Austrian photographer with HIV, and Philippe, 47, a wheelchair-bound French man.
Dream Boat manages to revel in the camp parade of scantily clad men enjoying “high heel runs” and cosplay costume balls, while also giving us a revealing glimpse into the emotional lives of the men experiencing this cruise as a social utopia.
Dream Boat launches in New York City on November 3.