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Provocateur, artist, performer: Peter Vanessa "Troy" Davies was a chameleon. Using layers of identity at will, Davies charmed his way through a lifetime of secrets and lies, prostitution, art, HIV, abuse, incest and gender subversion, leaving a legacy of unanswered questions, influential performances and reams of enigmatic home video.
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Provocateur, artist, performer: Peter Vanessa "Troy" Davies was a chameleon. Using layers of identity at will, Davies charmed his way through a lifetime of secrets and lies, prostitution, art, HIV, abuse, incest and gender subversion, leaving a legacy of unanswered questions, influential performances and reams of enigmatic home video.

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Exploration of gender-bending LGBT pioneer and art-pop genius Peter Vanessa 'Troy' Davis ... but, oh, so much more.
5 September 2015 | by See all my reviews

ECCO HOMO is a challenging film, for a niche audience, yet for this audience it is everything cinema can and should be ... pure art that pushes and stings and dazzles the eyes, ears, brain and heart. There is a lot going on here, on several levels and it is a dizzying, delightful ride.

ECCO HOMO is an incredibly timely picture, given the recent gay marriage ruling in the USA and the spotlight that Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner has trained on LGBT and gender identity issues. For younger folk, it may be hard to imagine that not very long ago, in mainstream culture, anything "gay" was hideously taboo ans shameful. And for older people, it is surely shockingly difficult to imagine that we are where we are ... gay marriage and Caitlyn and all.

Go back almost 40 years and there was a contemporary of then-Bruce Jenner named Peter Davies, growing up in suburban Australia. Whereas Bruce channeled (subverted?) his identity issues into intense and hyper-masculine athletics, Peter decided to be an intense, even pungent, individualist, no matter the cost. While we are celebrating Jenner for having the courage to become Caitlyn in 2015, we would do well to honor people like Davies who were decades ahead of Bruce.

ECCO HOMO tells the story of Davies, and a dizzying tale it is. Suffice it to say that through his sheer determination, sincerity, shamelessness, guile/lack of guile and "it," he found himself in the center of the brightest ring of popular culture for several years in the 80s and 90s -- helping to style some of the most popular music videos on MTV in its heyday, for bands like INXS and U2.

But Davies had a secret ... a whole passel of them. And this luxuriously beautiful documentary film by Milburn and Lowenstein tells Davies' tale while also trying to unravel the 'riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,' as Churchill might have said, were he reviewing the film.

Anybody interested in 80s/90s popular culture (particularly U2 and INXS) or LGBT history will most definitely be interested in this film. Beyond that, however, all who appreciate the stout innocence and beautiful fragility of the human spirit -- and anybody who just plain appreciates an expertly-crafted documentary with a great story to tell -- should really see ECCO HOMO.


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