The latest edition of the popular Boys On Film series makes it ways to DVD, with another selection of gay-themed shorts from around the world. So what’s this one like? Take a look at our rundown below.
And you can see what we think of other Boys On Film releases here.
Director: Jacob Brown
A little ethereal, Blinders follows a young straight couple in a club who meet a beautiful boy who ends up attracting the attention of the male of the couple, which could have repercussions for their relationship. It’s not a straightforward narrative, instead coming across as a series of vignettes rather that your more usual story – indeed there are times when you wonder whether some of it is purely going on inside someone’s head. Some will find it annoyingly poncey, but others will be drawn in by its beauty and intrigue.
6 out of 10
A Stable For Disabled Horses
Director: Fabio Youniss
There’s not really much I can add to the glowing review we did when the movie screened at the Iris Prize Festival, so click here to read that.
8 out of 10
Little Gay Boy, Christ Is Dead
Director: Amoury Grisel, Antony Hickling
This is certainly one of the most provocative films ever included on any of the Boys On Film releases, although I’m still in two minds about whether it’s a good one or not – but that may be the point. It’s about the young (and pretty gorgeous) Jean-Christophe, who wants to be a model, but as his day goes on he becomes involved in a series of ever more degrading situations, from the incestuous advances of his prostitute mother to guys who want to piss on him. His story is intercut with shots of gay S&M and a dancer whose journey echoes that of the main character.
It’s an odd film, where it’s never quite clear how much Jean-Christophe desires these degrading experiences (and if he does, why), or if he’s simply being subjected to many of them – it’s all a little odd and sometimes rather implausible in that he often seems to stumble into situations that are humiliating but can only be that way if he agrees to it, even tacitly. That said, there’s also the chance some of these things are only going on in his head. Maybe it’s just that humiliation isn’t something I really ‘get’, sexually. Likewise, the film sits of the edge between slightly uncomfortable voyeurism and true art – although it’s not always clear what the artistic statement is. It is undoubtedly an interesting short that’s sexy and yet uncomfortable – but I can’t help wonder if its lack of clarity is more problematic than it thinks it is. But maybe if you’re the kind of person who enjoys degradation to the point you’re in tears, you’ll understand it better than I do.
There is actually a feature version of this, simply called Little Gay Boy, which may explain things a little further, so perhaps I’ll have to check that out sometime.
6 out of 10
Director: Till Kleinert
Director Till Kleinert won the Iris Prize for Cowboy, which allowed him to make another short – Boys Village – which like Iris takes place in Wales. A young boy hangs around a dilapidated place that was once a holiday home for coalminers’ sons, waiting for those who brought him there to pick him up. However when a group of local youths arrive and start causing trouble, it begins to become clear that the boy has been there a very, very long time. Not many of the Boys On Film shorts are genuinely eerie, but Boys Village manages to be strange and slightly unsettling, never quite letting you know what is going on, but constantly pulling you in with its hints and suggestions.
8 out of 10
Director: Lukas Dhont
Headlong reunites two of the stars of the excellent gay-themed North Sea Texas, Jelle Florizoone and Thomas Coumans, with Florizoone as a young dancer in a strange city. His hotel room peace is interrupted by the arrival of Coumans, who is trying to avoid the police. While he should be scared, the dancer finds himself oddly attracted to this potentially dangerous young man. It’s an unexpectedly sweet film that successfully captures the excitement of the unknown and the possibility of danger, with the dancer’s isolation broken by new possibilities. Well worth a watch.
7 out of 10
Director Evan Robert
Another great short we caught at Iris, so check our review of this funny flick here.
9 out of 10
Director: William Feroldi
In a world where we have things like Grindr, the intersection of sex and the need for human closeness is a subject that’s more present than ever. Matt’s life involves encounters with a seemingly endless string of men. They all bring a balloon on which he writes their stats, even though Matt appears to actively avoid any sort of post-coital connection. However one of these carnal encounters results in feelings that surprise him. It’s an unusual and yet engrossing short, which takes sex and looks into it surprisingly deeply for a film that’s only 14 minutes long. It also manages moments of humour and tension, and that’s despite the fact it has virtually no dialogue – and I’m sure many will also appreciate the amount of male nudity.
8 out of 10
Teens Like Phil
Directors: Dominic Haxton & David Rosler
With increased coverage of LGBT teen suicide, it’s undoubtedly an important subject, but one that can be difficult to handle on film without great intentions coming across as verging on manipulative. Teens Like Phil teeters on the edge of that with its story of Phil, a shy American teen who is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. He has a complicated relationship with former friend Adam, who brutally lashes out as Phil due to a mix of his own identity issues and the humiliation he receives at the hands of his brother. This treatment leads Phil towards a dangerous decision. It’s clear Teens Like Phil has absolutely the right intentions and in the early stages manages to look with great insight into the issues of being young and gay, not least the complicated emotions of teenagers and the role of authority figures in all this, but there are also moments that rely too heavily on pathos and don’t feel quite as true. It’s good, but not quite perfect.
7 out of 10
Reviewer: Tim Isaac