From the outside, the International Male catalog, with its frilly pirate shirts and revealing underwear in eye-singeing patterns, could seem humorously garish. But to the “magalog’s” target audience of closeted gay teenagers and flamboyant club-goers, International Male was a secret handshake that gave them permission to be their fabulous selves. Narrated by Matt Bomer and featuring an all-star cast of celebrity stylists, fashion influencers, and comedic actors, All Man: The International Male Story celebrates International Male in an appropriately colorful ‘80s throwback style.
The cast of characters is as colorful as the documentary itself: From globetrotting founder Gene Burkard to head buyer Gloria Tomita and her appreciative eye for male beauty, the employees of International Male saw themselves as more of a family then co-workers. But while the documentary is tongue in cheek, its analysis of postwar American masculinity, the devastating effects of the AIDS crisis, and fashion’s power to bridge the cultural barriers between gay and straight men is wholly sincere.--Liza Domnitz
All Man marks Bryan Darling and Jesse Finley Reed’s feature debut. Jesse is an internationally-exhibited artist, designer and filmmaker. He received a DAAD Fellowship and a Larry Kramer Initiative Grant. Bryan is a producer, director and editor. His Emmy® and Gotham award-winning work includes Her Story and Netflix’s Designated Survivor.