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last update 3.Oct.18

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testosterone Testosterone: Volume One
There are four shorts in this collection from TLA Releasing. Each has some element of queer culture in it, sometimes in a rather offhanded way. One is from Poland, and it's the only one that's sexy; the other three are from the USA. One of them is a pitch-black comedy, while the other three are dark and gloomy, sometimes downright oppressive. Still, the filmmaking is strong in all of these clips. And the themes make them well worth a look.
release UK 8.Oct.18 • 18/UK TLA 1h08               15 themes, language, sexuality • 2.Oct.18
The End of My World   Mój Koniec Swiata 3/5  
kubasiewics and ostrowski dir-scr Kamil Krawczycki
with Bartosz Ostrowski, Karol Kubasiewicz, Pawel Dobek, Magdalena Kaczmarek, Katarzyna Herman, Lena Schimscheiner
17/Poland 30m
The End of My World Sitting on a rooftop in Krakow, photographer Filip (Ostrowski) is thinking about jumping. His friend Ola (Kaczmarek) arrives and tells him to go back to work, because it's time for him to get over his breakup with Eryk (Dobek). But filling up his day with anything else seems impossible. The film is almost comically gloomy, as these Poles gaze glumly over their grey city or drown out bad memories with a row of shots. Filip does manage to find moments of happiness in thoughts of Eryk and their happy life together. But of course, those memories bring along recollections of arguments and the realisation that their relationship wasn't working. Then one day he meets Janek (Kubasiewicz), who auditions for his camera, and a hint of hope is mingled with nostalgia. The film has a sweeping seriousness to it, shot and edited with skill and played in a way that digs for deeper emotions. It's thoughtful and moving, but perhaps too mopey to properly connect.
It Gets Better?   2/5  
It Gets Better? dir-scr Stephen Riscica
with Gys de Villiers, Sam Ashkenazy, Luca Fric, Adam Davenport
17/US 12m
It Gets Better? This short opens as a middle-aged man (de Villiers) sits in silence in his home before pouring a glass of wine and watching a YouTube video about how life gets better after the pain of coming out as gay. In distress, he keeps switching it off, then starts talking to himself about the excitement of being young and learning how to love. But then hope fades and life becomes stagnant as you get older. Filmmaker Riscica nicely plays with lighting and colour to weave this man's past and present together, so the film looks intriguing and often quite beautiful. But the present is so cynical and grim that it's not easy to watch. Surely there's more happiness later in life than merely reminiscing about being young and meeting other young men for sex, a moment of happiness. This central character is such a nihilist that he's difficult to engage with, moaning about how everyone is alone, the world is built on lies, and giving up is not an option. The basic message is that life is miserable, but you have to just carry on. Which frankly isn't good enough.
Killer Friends   3.5/5  
dir-scr Zach Noe Towers
with Zach Noe Towers, Jenna-Lee Carreiro, Dave Racki, Peggy Sinnott
17/US 11m
towers and racki
Killer Friends A black comedy set on a camping trip, this short is witty and snappy, sharply well written and directed, with a cast that's up for a bit of mayhem. Sitting in a car, three friends are talking about murder. Jill (Carreiro) is having problems with her obnoxious roommate Scott (Towers), and her boyfriend Bryan (Racki) agrees that the quickest and easiest option is to just kill him. Their friend Heather (Sinnott) thinks this is a bit extreme, but they have a point: Scott is simply horrible. They head out to the countryside, where Scott lets it slip that he and Bryan experimented with sex while they were in college. The continuing conversation is hilariously rude, while their attempts at murder take one slapstick turn after another. The acting matches this tone, broad and very silly, but with a dark edge of meaning. It's too ridiculous to register properly, but it is very funny.
The Surf Report   4/5  
peet dir Courtney Faye Powell
scr Tate Nova
with Frankie LaPace, Ronald Peet, Alice Carey, Matt Maher
16/US 15m
The Surf Report There's an otherworldly, almost sci-fi tone to this offbeat drama, augmented by hyper-dramatic music and eerie imagery. It traces a guy named K (Peet) who disappeared while surfing at Rockaway Beach, New York. Searching for him, his boyfriend Frankie (LaPace) consults a tarot card reader (Carey). Frankie can't help but think that perhaps K just decided to run away that day, and Vivian urges him to open his mind. Meanwhile, perhaps in another dimension, K is looking for a way back. The film is an intriguing swirl of memories and feelings, shot in a stylised way that's provocative and just a bit unhinged. The ideas of life and death are big ones, as these two men search for each other across a distance of time and perhaps even mortality. It's a very clever film that works almost subliminally, creating thoughts and feelings that will be distinctly different for every viewer. And where it goes is intriguing and darkly moving.

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