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Boys on Film 14: Worlds Collide - ABAN + KHORSHID | AN AFTERNOON | BARRIO BOY
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Boys on Film 14 Boys on Film 14: Worlds Collide
The uncertainty of youth is the focus of these nine shorts, which explore a range of issues that create awkward tensions between gay men struggling to express yearnings they don't quite understand. The strongest ones have political edges to them, as these guys deal with homophobia, HIV, class barriers, gender issues or legal persecution. All of them feel strikingly realistic, tapping into the deep-seated feelings everyone experiences, and the right and wrong ways we all deal with them.
release UK 8.Feb.16 • 16/UK Peccadillo 2h01               18 themes, violence, sexuality • 29.Jan.16
VOL 13   <   BOYS ON FILM   >   VOL 15
Want It   3/5  
dir Lee Haven Jones
scr Roger Williams
with James Cutler, Alan Turkington
14/UK 11m
cutler and turkington


want it Artfully shot in a striking setting, this short is beautifully edited and scored, only let down by a somewhat simplistic script. It's about a guy (Cutler) who breaks into a beautiful, empty house and essentially moves in, but his luxuriant idyll is interrupted when the owner (Turkington) quietly returns home. The film has a terrific sensuality, with introspective touches as Cutler breathes on a window, savours snacks from the fridge, runs his fingers through the plush carpet, tries out the perfume, wears the clothes. Then things shift when the owner comes home, toying with fantasy before getting rather intense. All of this is very nicely played by both actors, and what happens in the end is clever but not as surprising as it's meant to be. There's also a problem in the way director Jones shoots the final encounter in extreme close-up, which makes the entire film feel somewhat timid after the involving build-up. So where it ends up is intriguing but essentially simplistic and gimmicky. Still, the acting and filmmaking offers plenty of promise for future projects.
A World for Raul   4/5   Un Mundo Para Raúl
dir-scr Mauro Mueller
with Alexandre Barcelo, Adrian Alonso, Gerardo Taracena, Luis Roberto Meza, Adriana Paz, Ivana Gonzalez
12/Mexico 14m
alonso and barcelo

A World for Raul With a superb sense of the setting and culture, this film vividly depicts aspects of the class structure in Latin America, most notably the gulf between wealthy landowners and local workers. It's also a strikingly realistic look at adolescent sexuality. It centres on 13-year-old Raul (Barcelo), who has a loving family life and travels with his father Juan (Taracena) to visit wealthy hacienda owner Tamero (Meza), whose son Hernan (Alonso) is in town after living in Mexico City for three years. The boys have been childhood friends, so while the dads talk business, Raul and Hernan reconnect with each other, which means reviving old rivalries, bragging, drinking beer, playing football and swimming. But there's also a power play, as Hernan makes a sexual advance. Raul isn't remotely sure about this, but doesn't feel like he's in a position to resist. Where this goes is complex and thoughtful, as filmmaker Mueller daringly takes a realistic and open-handed approach to a seriously charged situation. He also cleverly avoids any moralising, provoking thought rather than judgement. And this is where an understanding of the setting makes it even more punchy.
Barrio Boy   3/5  
dir-scr Dennis Shinners
with Dennis Garcia, Dan Leonard, Peter Olivera, Andrew L Flores
15/US 8m
garcia and leonard
Barrio Boy Bright and full of attitude, this film uses a voiceover monolog to drive its story, as Latino hairdresser Quique (Garcia) is instantly smitten by the arrival of pale Irish stranger Kevin (Leonard) in his shop. Clearly not from around here, Kevin strongly contrasts against Quique's cousin Rafa (Flores) and hothead friend Cuz (Olivera). And since we're watching this through Quique's eyes, there's a strong sense of his attraction to Kevin as well as the knowledge that there's no way a romance like this can happen in this kind of macho-infused neighbourhood. Although his friends are already suspicious because he hasn't had a girlfriend in ages. The film is all in Quique's head, which makes it feel a bit talky and somewhat muted, as neither of these guys speak or admit their attraction. This makes the film feel somewhat leery and corny. It's a strong depiction of lust at first sight and a yearning for a normal life in a place where these desires can't be spoken out loud. But filmmaker Shinners' attempt to make this achingly romantic feels rather forced. So in the end, it's sweet and cute, but not very deep.
Aban + Khorshid   4/5  
dir-scr Darwin Serink
with Mojean Aria, Bobby Naderi, Shahaub Roudbari, Hamid Hayini, Arash Rahdari, Homayoon Doroodian
14/US 13m
Aban + Khorshid


Aban + Khorshid Inspired by true events, this short has a gravitas that's immediately gripping, especially since it's shot and edited in such a creatively introspective, thoughtful way. The opening minutes are almost like a dream, as blond, baby-faced Aban (Aria) and darker, rougher Khorshid (Naderi) speak to each other through a wall about the moment "they took you from me". From here, the film swirls back into memories of their romance, making a silly video on their phone, pondering why their creator created them this way. And this wall between them now separates them from the physical intimacy they once relied on to survive. This portrait of their relationship is gentle and cute, from the moment they met watching fireworks in the desert to jokes about how Abad is always hungry and sleepy. Also depicted is an invasion by police, being arrested and imprisoned for falling in love with the wrong person. This is a skilful, delicately made film that never pushes its message, but firmly reminds the audience that at least five countries still have the death penalty for loving someone of the same sex. And by sketching in these young men as lively, normal guys just yearning for happiness, it lingers very powerfully in the memory.
I love Hooligans   5/5  
dir-scr Jan-Dirk Bouw
13/Netherlands 13m
I love hooligans
I love hooligans Beautifully animated in a striking comic-book style, this Dutch film opens with the violent clash between two gangs in a field: these are football fans, carrying their rivalry to an extreme outside the stadium. And the film has a potent documentary narration (with voice disguised) as the central figure describes his life as a skinhead commenting about his love of the game, and how his passion has grown stronger and stronger ever since his grandfather took him to his first match. If the players lose on the pitch, he says, the fans can settle the score afterwards. And the animation depicts both the lively atmosphere in the stadium as well as the hideously gruesome brawls outside. Then he reveals his deepest secret: his coked-up, vicious persona is a front that hides his true self from his fellow hooligans. He's actually gay, and knows that if his friends knew it, they'd go for him in a moment of anger. So he lives in hiding, with no one who cares for him or knows him. And the only time he comes alive is on match days. This is unspeakably sad, and the beautiful imagery brings this young man's story to life in a way that's edgy, original and disturbingly realistic. It also provides frightening insight into the mind of both a football hooligan and a gay man who feels trapped in a homophobic world. It's artful, powerful and seriously important.
The Violation   3.5/5  
dir-scr Christopher Bradley
with Slade Pearce, Beth Grant, Shayne Topp, Elaine Hendrix, Chelsea Ricketts, Ralph Heim
13/US 13m
pearce and topp

The Violation There's a dark intensity to this film that isn't easy to shake, as it explores the hidden (and not so hidden) yearning and loathing between neighbours. It's a twisted triangle, as young teen Mickey (Pearce) spies on his neighbour Oscar (Topp), working in the garden and lusting after him when he takes a swim. But Oscar is leering at Mickey's sister Tina (Ricketts). Then Oscar's mother (Grant) invites Mickey and his mother (Hendrix) to housesit while they are away at a family wedding, and Mickey decides to poke around Oscar's room and lets his imagination run wild. Where this goes is intriguing and unexpected, and perhaps a bit contrived. But the film is packed with clever wrinkles that highlight the awkward gulf between two families, that live next to each other but come from different economic backgrounds. Writer-director Bradley keeps the tone very serious, but allows the actors to nicely underplay their roles. This draws the audience in, forcing us to think for ourselves. So it's effective, even if the story ultimately feels a bit vague and unresolved.
The Package   4/5   O Pacote
dir-scr Rafael Aidar
with Jeferson Brito, Victor Monteiro, Thais Oliveira, Priscila Gomes, Francisco Gaspar, Cida Almeida
12/Brazil 18m
monteiro and brito


O Pacote Pacey and cheeky, with a terrific sense of teen energy, this Brazilian short explores a series of connections that are promising and surprising. Leandro (Monteiro) is a new student in school, immediately sparking with classmate Jeff (Brito), who invites him out for a beer with his boisterous friends Jana and Kelly (Gomes and Oliveira). But as Leandro and Jeff notice what they see as a very natural attraction between them, Jeff is worried about a secret he's holding. And a teacher (Gaspar) encourages him, stressing that being open and honest is all part of the package. This is a very clever little story that bristles with jokey energy and youthfulness, but carries a strongly serious message about honesty. It certainly isn't easy to take this kind of responsibility, even for people much older than Jeff is, so the film has something important to say to everyone watching, regardless of their age. It may be a bit preachy and overtly educational, but the earthy, real subject matter makes it feel essential.
An Afternoon   4/5   En Eftermiddag
dir Soren Green
scr Tomas Lagermand Lundme, Soren Green
with Ulrik Windfeldt-Schmidt, Jacob August Ottensten
14/Denmark 8m
windfeldt-schmidt and ottensten


An Afternoon Simple and effective, this Danish short is about the momentous moment when teen Mathias is finally going to tell his best friend Frederik how he feels about him. But Frederik would rather watch online videos of sexy girls than parkour athletes. And he keeps texting back and forth with his friend Cecile. Mathias watches him closely, trying to read the signs, but his vague questions get unhelpful answers. And he thinks about just giving up and going home. Where this goes is clever and never very obvious about it. And director-cowriter Green shoots it in a strongly sensual way that catches the thoughts and moods of both young men. It's beautifully lit and edited, with understated, natural acting that creates a terrific sense of how scary it is to expose something so personal about yourself for the first time. Mathias' vulnerability is palpable, as is Frederik's nervousness. A clever and charming little film that might give a boost of confidence where it's needed most.

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