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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

BOYS ON FILM 19: NO ORDINARY BOY - Short Film Collection

Peccadillo Pictures have assembled their latest collection of gay-themed short films, with this their nineteenth instalment in their Boys On Film DVDs. Released this week, it includes films from the UK, USA, India, Denmark and Sweden under the subtitle No Ordinary Boy. The collection starts with American short MICHAEL JOSEPH JASON JOHN 🇺🇸, which follows a single gay man in New York who pictures what his life would be like with a guy he hooks up with on the subway. With lingering shots on long furtive expressions of his houseguest and close-ups on weapons around the house, this feels like it’s paving the way to show reality as being the exact opposite, but never quite fulfils on its promise. It builds tension for no apparent reason, with the characters involved in a romance and the audience involved in a thriller. An odd piece that doesn’t really work. Next is Indian THE FISH CURRY 🇮🇳. In this beautiful animated movie, we follow a young man as he prepares his family’s favourite dish for dinner, over which he intends to tell his family that he’s gay. Slow-paced to depict that impending dread of coming out, the film is drawn with greys and browns to show the drab normalcy of their lives and to underline the grave seriousness with which he dreads the meal’s outcome. A sensitive and subtle animation. British MEATOO 🇬🇧 depicts an actor who goes to audition for a film project and becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the tasks the casting director is setting him. Although only four minutes in length, it creates a pair of interesting characters, both of whose motives are enigmatic and complex. Dark, cold and urban, this is a compact slice of atmospheric efficiency. British RUN(A)WAY ARAB 🇬🇧 depicts a Middle Eastern drag queen as she prepares for a show, with her routine juxtaposed against a memory of childhood when a moment of gender exploration caused a rift with his previously adoring mother. A tender story of cause and effect, almost Freudian in its two timelines, this is a beautiful piece about childhood and the effects of shame. Danish BETWEEN HERE AND NOW 🇩🇰 explores the early stages of a relationship between a man living in Copenhagen and an Italian visitor, whose reason for visiting are shrouded in mystery. Like Weekend with a mafioso twist, this romantic short adeptly portrays the balance between a person’s life and a person’s love. Romantic but tense, this is a piece with an ambitious narrative and two delightfully complex leads. British DUSK 🇬🇧 stars Duncan James and depicts the life story of Chris, beginning in the 1950s aw he struggles to accept gender norms. As a pensioner he looks back on key moments from his life, but it becomes clear that his story isn’t telling the full story. As the truth bleeds into reality, this is an affecting story about discrimination and trans issues. Dramatic, tender and romantic, this is a very effective episodic filmmaking. British BLOOD OUT OF A STONE 🇬🇧 follows Dan and Michael on their second date. Michael is a born romantic, whereas Dan has a hard exterior that is difficult to breach. When Michael sets them a challenge at the start of the date, Dan’s guard begins to lower as the two become more intimate, but can the most well-meaning and honest of intentions overcome what is essentially someone closed of to the world. A delightfully romantic piece with a sad twist, this is a brilliant little film with a lot to say. Swedish NO MORE WE 🇸🇪 depicts the end of a relationship, where one of the fiancées is ready for it to end and the other is absolutely not. All set inside their apartment, we see tensions brew and emotions laid bare as they prepare to separate for good. Slow-paced and angst-filled, it’s a painful watch for anyone who has been through something similar. Its leads do sturdy work in depicting the complexities of the ending of a relationship where one has simply fallen out of love. British JERMAINE & ELSIE 🇬🇧 explores the unlikely friendship between a cantankerous old lady and her carer, a man she is initially suspicious of, but eventually comes to trust. And when he suddenly disappears, she has to leave her house to find him. A beautiful story of love from director Leon Lopez, this is superbly composed, brilliantly acted and executed with sublime subtlety. A beautiful film. Finally, British FOUR QUARTETS 🇬🇧follows a fun and exuberant young man out on the pull, cutting between encounters in the club and moments of disappointing intimacy at home. He’s clearly looking for love, but loses himself in the disco music and the glamour of a Saturday night. A fun piece that adeptly portrays the heady euphoria of British nightlife, there is also a tinge of loneliness. Bright, colourful and queer, this is an effervescent montage piece. As usual, this is a strong collection of films. The strongest of the bunch are JERMAINE & ELSIE and BLOOD OUT OF A STONE, but all of the shorts are well worth your time. The next collection will be its twentieth, but hopefully there will be many more to come!

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