THE MALE GAZE: THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT - Short Film Collection
In a new collection of short films for their series The Male Gaze, New Queer Visions have gathered shorts from Spain, Israel, Sweden, Belgium and the UK.
The collection begins with THIRST from the UK, which follows a man as he leaves a hook-up as he walks home and delivers a stream-of-consciousness monologue to camera, ruminating on his life, hook-up culture and his dreams for an idyllic future. His is the story of many 21st century urban gay men, masking their self-loathing with façade of free-love, when what they want is something completely different. He critiques the world he is such a proponent of; his is the dichotomy of his generation, brought simply but effectively to the screen: can gay men really overcome their internalised shame?
Next is Spanish ACCORDING TO MATEO, in which Mateo arrives home from a night out with his boyfriend and a man they have found in a club. As they begin to have sex, he sneaks out and finds another man on the street, with whom he goes and has his own experience, away from the others. In a dark depiction of the depths of sexual desire, this is at times fairly shocking, as Mateo rejects first his boyfriend, then their threesome for something darker and harder than what he can have with them.
Israeli HARDCORE shows an encounter between two men and a German tourist, where they find themselves way above their head as he asks them to engage in extreme fetishes with him. Inititally they just go with it, but as his excessive proclivities become somewhat lost in translation, we see his constant urging to go further and harder as comic, rather than the hypermasculine machismo that he was intending. Dark, snappy and definitely not sexy, this is a sarcastic exposé of dark sexual desires.
Next is Swedish BEAST in which a young reclusive man meets someone he falls in love with, but as they become closer, the more scared he is for his secret to be revealed: why he has to live alone. A subtle fantasy-horror short (my favourite movies are those with big ideas executed on a small scale), it takes its time to slowly half-reveal the reality that is being hidden from us and his lover. Atmospheric, dark and eerie, this is a strong piece of Nordic Noir with a twist of Let The Right One In.
Belgian PETIT AMI comes next, depicting an encounter between a young sex worker and an enigmatic older man at a seedy motel. To begin with, the boy is all bravado and sexual enticement until he overhears a telephone conversation he client receives that makes him soften and feel real empathy for him. This story of an (albeit fleeting) connection between two men is a moving reminder that we can find solace and human intimacy in the most unusual of circumstances.
Last is another Belgian piece, SKAI BLUE. A glib but heartfelt piece about a man who meets an asylum seeker from Cameroon, we see the difficulty of gaining asylum in Europe for LGBT people through the eyes of a Belgian man who just wants his lover to stay. Scored with a beautiful soundtrack, this is a sincere and sweet film about how love transcends borders.