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On this page - Boys on Film 5:
CANDY BOY |
FAR WEST | GO-GO REJECT | JAMES | LAST CALL | TWOYOUNGMEN, UT.
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last update 28.Oct.10
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E
Boys on Film 5: Candy Boy
All of the short films in this collection tackle important themes, mostly through serious drama about young men at a turning point in their lives. There's a nice boldness to these shorts that adds an intriguing sense of urgency. None of them are throwaway jokes; they all demand attention and tell us something about our society.
release UK 27.Oct.10 • 10/UK Peccadillo 2h26 • 18 themes, language, sexuality • 17.Oct.10
dir Sam McConnell
scr Nick Citton
with George Loomis, Art Gager, Frank Meli, Jordan Klumper, Leslie Murphy, Brant Kaiwi
|At a bar, the underage Will (Loomis) meets barman Eli (Meli) and they head out into the night together. They're roughly the same age, and when Will screws up the confidence to make a move on the much more confident Eli, he's shocked to discover that Eli is straight. Although he loves tormenting people by blurring the lines of sexuality. But running into friends is only the start, as he and Eli drive through the night to a party in the salt flats. Skilfully shot and scored like a feature, the film immediately feels engaging, and the likeable duo at the centre keeps us interested. Despite their opposite personalities, they look like clones of each other. But there's a zing in their interaction that adds a bit of suspense to the film. While it ultimately feels a bit slight, what makes the film worth seeing is the way it examines the casual homophobia in rural America, sharply catching the constant threat of violence and the fear of discovery. And the thrill of finding someone you can be honest with.
dir Marialy Rivas
scr Rodrigo Bellott, Marialy Rivas
with David Alfonso, Campos Piedro, Paula Zuniga, Maria de los Angeles Garcia, Pablo Macaya, Trinidad Gonzalez, Clara Escobar
|In 1986 Santiago, Luchito (David) is only beginning to discover his own sexuality, having unexpected reactions when pressed against strange men on a crowded bus and watching men playing football in the local fields. He starts to understand his own desires when he notices 16-year-old Manuel (Campos), who lives in the apartment block next to his, having sex with his girlfriend. When police raid the neighbourhood looking for revolutionaries, things take a startling turn. Shot with a real sense of the time and setting, the film really gets under this boy's skin, letting us see his conflicting emotions. And the political element gives the film a potent impact, weaving in historical events that feel eerily resonant. All of this has a razor sharp ring of truth to it, as if the filmmakers are vividly remembering real events. But even more recognisable are the blurry feelings young Luchito can't quite understand.
dir-scr Nick Corporon
with Travis Dixon, David Devora, Jody Jaress, Nick Soper, Montana White
|On his way to meet his boyfriend Mark (Devora), Gavin (Dixon) runs a red light and finds himself in a mysterious bar where the barmaid (Jaress) offers him three shots, each with a memory of his relationship. If he can prove he was going to do the right thing, she'll give Mark back to him. What follows is a series of cute, confrontational and sad scenes from this young couple's romance that echo the three ghosts of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Filmmaker Corporan nicely captures the feelings of his characters, although the film is a little overserious and nostalgic, dipping heavily into sentimentality and cod psychology along the way. What's missing is the jarring humour or honesty of real life. But it's also very moving as it explores the intense feelings of lost love.
dir-scr Pascal-Alex Vincent
with Julien Gauthier, Jean Haas, Gilles Guillain, Tony Granger, Alexis Michalik, Chloe Berthier
|Wild-haired dancer Ricky (Gauthier) is annoyed that he has to go stay with his granddad (Haas) in the country, but finds himself interested in hunky cowboy farmhand Jean-Didier (Michalik). His colourful friends Mika and Koko (Guillain and Granger) arrive to cheer him up, but now all three are lusting after Jean-Didier, and Granddad isn't amused. The film flippantly blends wacky comedy with internal drama, as we can see from the start that something serious is going on in Ricky's head. Of course, there are secrets lurking beneath the surface, and the film provokes real feelings as it explores the clashes between culture, family and sexuality. The mix doesn't always work, but it's impeccably shot and acted, and it has something important to say about being true to yourself and your friends.
dir-scr Connor Clements
with Niall Wright, Matt Jennings, Margaret Goodman, Gerry Doherty, Louis Rolston
|In Northern Ireland, young teen James (Wright) feels like an outsider, yelled at by his mum (Goodman) and taunted by the school bullies. The only person who understands him is his music teacher Mr Sutherland (Jennings), and he finally builds up the courage to open up to him, with unexpected results. The film is a little fragmented, with a series of brief episodes that combine to show us the awkward details of James' life, from his parents' troubled marriage to a creepy encounter in a school toilet. But the central scene between him and his teacher is both unsettling and revelatory, full of dark edges and emotional echoes. The film is very nicely directed and written, with open performances from the superb cast. It's efficient and involving, even if there's not a lot of style to it, and leaves us darkly unsettled by its raw honesty.
dir Roberto Fiesco
scr Roberto Fiesco, Julian Hernandez,Luis Martin Ulloa
with Jorge Adrian Espindola, Javier Escobar, Salvador Alvarez, Pilar Ruiz, Fernando Arroyo
|This short follows a mute student, David (Espindola), who is ditching school when he meets the middle-aged Jose (Escobar) on a park bench. David communicates by writing notes, and after David makes a proposal they head to a hotel room together. What follows is playful and surprisingly explicit. The film is quietly involving, even as it feels a little broad and stilted in the way the characters interact. We don't know enough about either of these men to understand why they react to each other the way they do, so we're left to interpret the events in a fairly open-handed way. This kind of leaves us cold; beyond a moment of warmth between two strangers, there isn't much for us to engage with here.
dir Pascal-Alex Vincent
scr Pascal-Alex Vincent, Martin Drouot
voices Julien Bouanich, Marie-Christine Darah, Aymen Saidi, Chloe Berthier, Victor Carril 07/Fr 13m
|From France, this animated film adopts a variation of the Japanese anime style for its story about blond teen orphan Candy Boy (voiced by Bouanich), who's trying to figure out why the other children are falling ill. Meanwhile, new kid Sami (Saidi) is making life miserable for the nuns, breaking rules and challenging Candy Boy's golden-boy status. Despite being a bit jerky and stilted, the animation style is striking and very colourful, loaded with extremely clever touches. And the story is involving and intriguing, with a real sense of mystery and some vivid personalities. As the story progresses and it becomes clear that the orphanage's chief donor is responsible for a local toxic spill, the film turns into a full-on mini adventure-thriller with a bizarre romantic twist. And the most surprising thing is how emotionally involved we get.
dir Michael J Saul
scr Heath Daniels
with Heath Daniels, Matthew Bridges, Korken Alexander, Michael Estime, Drew Droege, Iva Turner
In a crowded go-go bar, Daniel (Daniels) and his friend (Bridges) are trying to figure out what it takes to get hired as a go-go dancer, because it doesn't seem like any of them can dance. This inspires Daniel to leave his yogurt shop job and pursue his dream of becoming Jennifer Beales in Flashdance. But he's too skinny to get hired as a regular, so he takes some clever drastic action. The film has a sunny-cheesy tone that keeps us smiling through all of the corny plot turns and wacky fantasy sequences and hilarious dance moves. It's also nice to see a filmmaker who knows how to keep a story at its logical length rather than dragging it out into a feature. But even more important, the film has something important to say about society's restrictive idea of what a body should look like. Although Daniel is also an idealistic type for mere mortals.
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows
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