A young man is going swimming, but is worried that he doesn’t stack up ‘down below’ compared to the other guys. In his head everyone else’s package seems bigger and their body looks better. After an attempt to stuff his Speedos goes awry – and eating endless bananas doesn’t work either – he begins to despair about ever being ‘virile’ enough… until something unexpected happens. Quite short and a little odd, Apollo nevertheless has worthwhile points to make about the negative side of masculinity. It’s keen to point out that it’s not just women who feel the need to live up to unattainable standards. It’s also quite fun.
3 out of 5
This documentary style short features a group of being interviewed on camera about people they know and experiences they’ve had. Most of these people once dated filmmaker Gabriel, from his youthful relationships with women, to the more serious and difficult reminiscences of his relationship with Andre. However, things may not be as ‘over’ between Andre and Gabriel as it first appears. Initially Ruptures feels like it’s going to be rather pretentious and annoying, but it soon starts to become more intriguing. It explores how people look back on a break-up and the motivations people have for doing things, leading to a rather sweet and smart ending that makes you realise what you’ve really been watching.
3.5 out of 5
The Body of Angels
Its not often I don’t know what to make of a film, but The Body of Angels had me oddly stumped. A seemingly random selection of men appear to be being attacked by a sound effect, which leaves them lying on their backs, clutching their sides. It’s an excuse for a fair amount of shirtlessness, but initially seems to have absolutely no point whatsoever. Tied up in all this is a young farmer called Remi, who’s feeling trapped by his existence. Even by the end of the film it’s difficult to know whether what you’ve seen was sci-fi, horror or some sort of weird experimental drama. I’m assuming a bit of all three, especially when holes start appearing in people’s stomachs, homoerotic wrestling happens, and ghostly parents appear, but it’s largely a lot of pretentious weirdness. I’m sure some will find it wonderfully profound, but not me.
1.5 out of 5
Two adolescent boys are enjoying the summer together. One suggests they go a great place he knows far beyond the distant wind turbines. However, he thinks the other boy is too scared to go with him, as he always seems to think things are out there waiting for him. Even so, the boys head off together, with the leader challenging his friend’s fears along the way, but the thing they may really need to confront is one’s growing attraction to the other. Some may be slightly uncomfortable at the slightly leering way the camera looks at the teen boys and there is a little more artifice than necessary, but it’s a nicely made short featuring some great locations that challenges ideas of what masculine bravery and not being afraid to make a leap of faith really is.
3 out of 5
A man arrives at another guy’s apartment for a hook-up. They have a drink which leads into sex. One hopes to see the other again, until he learns they have a boyfriend. Nevertheless, they meet up again, which heads towards a deeper connection. It’s a deceptively simple setup, but it’s done in a charming, rather sexy way. The film is keen to explore how many modern gay relationships begin, where sex comes first and it’s only later you find out about the other people. It’s intrigued by the idea that real intimacy arrives by sharing a bed rather than what you do with your genitals. The intricacies of hook-ups is a topic many gay men will recognise, even if it’s not often explored that well.
4 out of 5
A young man arrives at the house of a middle age guy for dinner. The two know each other, but it’s unclear what their relationship might be. Are they father and son? Lovers? A hook-up? Is one paying the other to be there? The film plays with what we’re seeing, challenging our assumptions about why this age gap tryst is happening, as well as where the power lies in such a relationship. As things become increasingly dangerous, it turns out one of the men may have misjudged the other. The closest to a traditional genre piece in the collection, En Retour is a nicely made film that turns into a crime drama. Some will find the ending of the movie a little hard to swallow – and rather undermining to what went before, but it certainly offers food for thought.
2.5 out of 5
Overall Verdict: An intriguing selection of shorts, which may feature a duff or two, but has enough interesting inclusions and sexy moments to make it worth a look.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac