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On this page - Boys on Film 18:
AIDS: DOCTORS AND NURSES TELL THEIR STORIES | BUDDY | THE COLOUR OF HIS HAIR
DANIEL | IT'S CONSUMING ME | SILLY GIRL | UNDRESS ME
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last update 29.Apr.18
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 18: Heroes
There's a bold sensibility to this collection of 10 shorts marking the 18th volume in Peccadillo's hugely popular series. Documentaries explore political issues from a variety of powerful angles. And the dramas have an earthy edge to them too. There are even two films that don't feature any gay men, which must be a first for this series. And a few of the shorts also touch on very complicated themes in ways that are original and very clever.
release UK 30.Apr.18 • 18/UK Peccadillo 2h13 18 themes, language, violence, sexuality • 29.Apr.18
dir-scr Dean Loxton
with Balazs Csemy, Hilda Peter, Eva Magyar, Henry Garrett, Mimi Kovacs, Adam Tompa
|There's a bright, airy tone to this sharply shot and edited drama about a Hungarian student living in London. Daniel (Csemy) supports himself by working as an escort on the side. Then at a dinner party, his friend Nori (Peter) brings her new boyfriend Tom (Garrett) along. The film crosscuts between this mean and three of Daniel's work encounters. Filmmaker Loxton shoots the film in an earthy, sensual way even as he shies from the sex (the food is shot more lovingly than the bedroom action). It's a superb portrait of a character, and Csemy brings a relaxed authenticity to the role as a smart young man doing what he needs to do to get on with his life. There's a sting in the tale that's darkly chilling, exposing cold-hearted moralistic attitudes. Although the script seems a little conflicted by this as well.
dir Niels Bourgonje
scr Niels Bourgonje, Edwin Goldman
with Daniel Cornelissen, Tobias Nierop, Mark Ram
With an understated tone, this Dutch drama follows two ex-lovers who meet up to go together to a clinic. It's an awkward reunion for a variety of reasons, including the obvious stress as Chris (Nierop) has asked Jeroen (Cornelissen) to accompany him to find out his HIV test results. In the waiting room, their conversation is dark and honest, beautifully played by the actors, who pack every moment with glimpses of their lingering feelings. Much of the tension comes because Jeroen is clearly hoping this might mean they have a chance for a reunion. Much of this is expressed in the silences between their smalltalk. And when their conversation goes deeper, the film taps into some powerful feelings. Director Bourgonje keeps the tone brittle and authentic, so it's very easy to identify with the emotions.
Also at: IRIS PRIZE
dir Victor Lindgren
scr Jana Bringlov Ekspong, Victor Lindgren
with Jana Bringlov Ekspong, Bjorn Elgerd
|This low-key Swedish short opens in a busy bar, as Han (Elgerd) meets Mikaela (Ekspong). His attraction is intense, and he invites her to dinner, pausing for a kiss in the snowy street. He comments on her height and her low voice, so Mikaela confesses that she had gender reassignment surgery three years ago. Han's attitude suddenly shifts, as he starts asking aggressive questions while showing increased curiosity. What follows is a cleverly written, directed and played encounter that shifts in unusual directions, exploring body image, ego and insecurities without ever being pushy. The approach is so honest about these characters and their interaction that it almost takes us aback, revealing how artificial most movies are. And more importantly, the film is crushing preconceptions at every step.
|The Colour of His Hair
dir Sam Ashby
scr Elizabeth Montagu
with Sean Hart, Josh O'Connor, John Alcock, Matt Cook, Stef Dickers, Polly North
Based on an unproduced 1964 script by Elizabeth Montagu, whose brother was notoriously tried for his sexuality 10 years earlier, leading to a government committee that recommended decriminalising homosexuality. But it took another campaign and 13 years for the law to change. This film combines her script with documentary footage exploring the shift in queer culture over 50 years. First-person interviews, home movies and news clips are combined with a period style dramatisation about two young men (Hart and O'Connor, excellent) in the early 1960s who are being blackmailed, threatened with exposure to the police if they don't pay up. During this time, many young men committed suicide rather than risk prison. Salacious newspaper headlines are shocking, balanced by a look at the gay press through the years. The film takes an artistic approach, cleverly weaving together both present-day attitudes and the situation at the time. It's strikingly well assembled, with a string of powerful moments along the way.
Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
dir Hope Dickson Leach
scr Ellie Kendrick, Jason Barker
with Ciara Baxendale, Mollie Lambert, Jason Barker
|A loose, offbeat black comedy, this short explores that moment when someone notices that you're different, calling you a "silly girl" because you exist outside the box. Two girls (Baxendale and Lambert) and a young man (Barker) gather to talk about their experiences under a busy overpass. The film is unconstructed and experimental, more like performance art than a narrative short. Director Leach shoots and edits it together in a quirky, witty way that catches details of these three characters. And it's packed with telling comments about those moments in which our lives are changed because we have finally been seen for who we really are. It's short and pointed, and it leaves the viewer with a smile of recognition as well as hope that maybe all of us are better off outside any boxes.
|Aids: Doctors and Nurses Tell Their Stories
dir Alejandro Medina
with Leigh Chislett, Theresa Burns, Corinne Sullivan, Mike Youle, Douglas Robinson, Jane Bruton
|This documentary short allows health care workers to share their first-hand memories of working with Aids patients in 1980s Britain as the epidemic emerged. These were "living, breathing human beings who were living in a desperate time", young people dying during the worst national health disaster in living memory. They discuss seeing this mysterious, devastating disease sweep across America and then arrive in the UK. Since the medical treatment was experimental, the side effects were also devastating. In addition, many of these guys were afraid to tell any of their family and friends that they were dying. And it changed the culture drastically, decimating a community of young men in the cruellest way imaginable while also sparking vile bigotry in the press and activism in the streets. The interviews are personal if a little generic, but also bring up strong emotions as they vividly paint the picture with telling details, speaking about how they had to break the rules to offer compassion and care. In other words, this is an essential film that documents an awful moment in history.
|Its Consuming Me
dir-scr Kai Staenicke
with Volkmar Welzel, Alberto Venceslau, Patrick Sonberger
In a dramatically picturesque forest, a young man (Welzel) is feeling overwhelmed by everything about his boyfriend (Venceslau). As he lists the things he loves about him, glimpses of their live together flicker across the screen. It's witty and beautifully shot, edited with a rapid-fire sense of energy that travels around Berlin and beyond. It's a striking reminder of the often contradictory nature of attraction, the way that everything works together to make up how we feel about someone. And by the end, it becomes apparent that this is actually a young men obsessing about his ex, the things he misses and the things that drove them apart. And he's not yet able to stop himself from going down this rabbit hole. Clever, witty and colourful. And surprisingly sexy too, all in just four minutes.
Also at: IRIS PRIZE
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