BOYS ON FILM 22: LOVE TO LOVE YOU - Short Film Collection
The new Boys On Film short film collection from Peccadillo Pictures is out this week to watch on DVD, VOD and Blu-Ray. Boys On Film 22: Love To Love You features eight shorts collected from the UK, Brazil, Mexico, USA and Australia. Take a look at each of the short films in this collection below.
HAVE WE MET BEFORE? (UK)
Director: Oliver Mason.
In this docu-drama looking back on life as a gay man in the twentieth century, we hear the oral histories of several gay men, speaking about the ways gay men hooked up. From cottaging to Grindr, cruising to the hanky-code, each route is enacted by a pair of actors dressed to match the era of these tales. Though fairly unadventurous visually, the authenticity of these voices speaks for themselves as the sexual exploits of the past are gleefully retold and recreated.
THE ACT (UK)
Starring: Samuel Barnett, Simon Lennon, Cyril Nri
Director: Thomas Hescott
In the back streets of Soho in 1965, Matthews is trying to find meaning in transactional sex with gay men trying desperately to keep their sexuality a secret. Only a few years before the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in the UK, many of these scenes are played out alongside parliamentary transcripts read in voiceover as Matthews searches for something deeper than just sex. The titular “act” refers both to the impeding change in law and the defiance enacted each time any of these men have sex. Adeptly capturing that moment in history when gay men decided enough was enough, this is a compelling piece of reconstructed history, both personal and national.
FIRST POSITION (USA)
Starring: Anthony Sorrells, Mark Wax
Director: Michael Elias Thomas
It’s the 1980s and Zachary has moved to San Francisco, hoping to join a dance company. When he coincidentally meets a handsome choreographer in a club he seems to be in luck, but this isn’t a fairytale happily ever after. Discovering lesions on his skin, he soon realises that the body he uses to express himself may soon give out. Dedicated to “All the Zacharys”, this is a solemn rumination on the trauma of an entire generation of young men cut down by the AIDS pandemic. With Zachary such a passionate, committed and driven artist, this tragedy is underlined all the more, highlighting a figure who could have amounted to so much more. A beautiful tribute to those lost to the disease, this is heart-breaking but fiercely defiant stuff.
Starring: Pabel Castañada, Rafael Ruiz Lizarraga
Directors: Luis Pacheco, Rafael Ruiz Espejo
Nico is a cabaret performer who has lived a fiercely independent life away from their family. When their father arrives, trying to insert himself into their life, Nico resists vehemently, only to discover that maybe there is more of a connection there than once they thought. A slow film that casts a long and sombre shadow over the glamour of a life in drag, all the makeup, dresses and wigs cannot remove the feelings buried deep at the heart of Nico and none of this superficial maquillage can mask that. And this moody short reflects that in its palate, glum cinematography and staid direction.
THE SUIT WEARETH THE MAN (UK)
Starring: Maciej Nawrocki, Katharina Naumow, Niels Juteson
Director: Mitchell Marion
Maciej is trying desperately to climb the corporate ladder, hiding both his Polish identity and sexuality at work. When his boss asks him to lead a meeting in his own community to convince them to leave their housing estate ready for redevelopment, his mother is furious. As Maciej’s conscience begins to get the better of him, will he succumb to his instincts or let his desire for success and power win? A twenty-first century symbolic depiction of untainted greed that Oliver Stone would be proud of, this is a slick and polished short that places the lusts of wealth and those of the flesh counterpoint to one another. With a gorgeous string soundtrack and some crisp art direction, this is a brilliant short that exposes the ugliness at the heart of the wealth pumped into the city of London.
INFINITE WHILE IT LASTS (Brazil)
Starring: Michel Pereira, Julio Aracack
Director: Akira Kamiki
When Danny and Seije meet at a party and fall in love, all those around them are convinced the new relationship is doomed to fail. The former is asexual, whereas the latter is not, but Danny thinks that a relationship shouldn’t have to rely on sex and suspects that his new boyfriend might think so too. A contemplative romantic drama about the assumed connection between love and sex, this is a sweet short that makes you invest in an adorable new couple. The plot might be just an elaborate game of Chinese Whispers, but the saccharine sweet leads are enough to carry this film.
MELON GRAB (Australia)
Starring: Noah Regan, Noah Fuzi
Director: Andrew Lee
Two best friends head out for a final skate as one of them prepares to move away following the divorce of his parents. As the sun sets, the two reflect on the fun they have had together and realise what their friendship has meant. A sun-kissed nostalgic reflection on boyhood, this is an extremely subtle film that looks good but says little. While some might fall in love with its idealistic depiction of teenage skate-culture, others will be equally irritated that nothing actually happens.
Starring: Taofique Folarin, Ben Aldridge. Director: Jamie Dispirito.
Joe meets Alex on Grindr and invites him to his apartment. After they hook-up, Alex finds medication in Joe’s bathroom and the two embark on a conversation that both have been needing and yearning to have. A stunning short about living and over-coming - thriving, even - its script is achingly beautiful and the cinematography delectably composed. With a pair of pitch-perfect performances, this will pluck at the heart strings while whispering words of pure empowerment. One of the finest on-screen depictions of HIV I’ve ever seen, this is the kind of approach that filmmakers tackling the issue should study as a blueprint.
There’s a reason that Boys On Film is the most lauded collection of short films on release. This twenty-second instalment certainly doesn’t disappoint, with eight diverse and compelling shorts from across the world. One of their more earnest releases, it’s a shame Love To Love You is so Anglo-centric, with only two shorts in another language but English. However, clocking in at two and half hours, there’s a lot to watch and some beautiful stories to fall in love with. And Thrive is decidedly the jewel in the collection’s crown.
UK Release: 27th June on DVD, VOD and Blu-Ray, released by Peccadillo Pictures