BOYS ON FILM 23: DANGEROUS TO KNOW - Short Film Collection
Dangerous To Know is the twenty-third instalment in Peccadillo Puctures’ legendary short film collection Boys On Film, continuing their anthology of gay shorts from around the world. This collection has gathered ten diverse films from Brazil, Hungary, Belgium, USA, Norway, Israel, Georgia and the UK. Take a look at each of the films below.
MY UNCLE'S FRIEND (Brazil)
Director: Renato Turnes
In this short documentary, Vicente looks back on his child, growing up in Sao Paolo at the turn of the 90s. Using the footage shot on his father’s camcorder, he recalls his uncle’s friend Chulé, a handsome brute of masculinity who stirred something within him as a young teenager. A beautifully reflective piece about a deeply personal memory, this deftly composed fragment of visual history is nuanced, restrained and moving.
BUDAPEST, CLOSED CITY (Hungary)
Starring: Péter Dániel Katona, Adam Wadsworth
Director: Máté Konkol
Hungarian teenager Péter is taking his friend on a tourist visit of his home city, Budapest. Anarchic and politicised, the sights are accompanied by an antiestablishment commentary, from which his British companion hangs on every word. Ending their evening in a ruin bar, the pair get closer as they dance the night away, their time together peppered with on-screen illustrations and TikTok-esque jump edits. A fleeting slice that shows the turning point in their friendship, this is a youthful postcard to a beautiful city that has all the vim and vigour of a filmmaker coming of age just as much as his subjects.
Starring: Mustaf Ahmeti, Vincent van Driessche
Director: Sven Spur
In an anonymous metropolis, an anonymous man prowls the streets night after night, finding ways to have sex with strangers wherever he goes. Whether he is searching for connection in these unknown arms is unclear, but his wordless quest certainly leads him to intimacy, albeit fleetingly. A dark, sexy but unsettling short that leaves its subject little more than an animal pursuing his carnal desires, its graphic realism is supported only by a soaring score and strikingly considered visuals.
Starring: Zachary Quinto, Russell Kahn
Director: Sam Max
When a young man is picked up by a mysterious stranger, details of their terrifying arrangement are very slowly revealed as they arrive at an empty house clad inside with plastic sheeting. The boy has left behind all personal effects, while his quiet companion is firm but eerily tender as they head toward the enactment of this process. A deeply disturbing crime thriller, Zachary Quinto is blisteringly unnerving as the titular chaperone who provides a service but yet is clearly unhinged. Played out in a matter-of-fact style, we are positioned just as detached as Quinto, watching this consensual crime horrifyingly - but unsensationally - played out before us.
BREAK ME (Norway)
Starring: Ravdeep Singh Bajwa, Fredrik Skogsrud
Director: Israsj Asanti
Cage fighter Mansour is hiding his sexuality from his Muslim family. When his father arranges a marriage for him, he is forced to decide whether to stay true to himself - and his boyfriend - or to be the obedient son. An intriguing character portrait, the pressure also comes from his machismo hobby too, with every angle trying to convince him that he’s not really what he knows is true. Hypermasculine and simmering with reticent sadness, this is a compelling piece that doesn’t shy away from subtly criticising every angle of Mansour’s world.
BY HIS WILL (Israel)
Starring: Ido Tako, Nir Magen, Itay Koren
Director: Uriel Torten
Teenage Elisha lives in Jerusalem and is torn between two worlds: the religious life of his Jewish family and the secular world of modern Israel. Tempted by the bright lights and seductive nightlife of the most liberal nation on the planet, the comfort he finds in both his family and his secret boyfriend within his community proves just as magnetic a force. A short about an internal crossroads, we watch as Elisha decides which path he wants, influenced but unguided by all those around him. Thoughtful, nuanced and balanced, this is an intriguing portrait of modern Israel.
RED ANTS BITE (Georgia)
Starring: George Imo Abasi, Donald Acho Nwokorie. Director: Elene Naveriani.
Following a night out, Obinna and Afame wander the streets of Tbilisi. Friends from Nigeria, they have built a life here now, as one of them even has a wife and child. But as dawn breaks and the truth about their relationship is revealed, this ordinary day will actually be one of great significance to the pair. A majestic film set against the backdrop of the post-Soviet urbanscape, this is moving film with real heart.
Starring: Gary Fannin, Cary Ryan
Director: Tom Young
Catholic priest Father Jim Fitzsimmoms picks up a rentboy and brings him home with him. In London in the 1980s, Father Jim is living a life of secrecy, but as the encounter turns out different than he expected, he finds that his ministry will extend far beyond the walls of his church. A thought-provoking and deeply complex character portrait based on a true story, this is a deeply moving snapshot of one moment in a man’s life that changed everything for him. Balanced, moving and considered, this is a beautifully composed short film.
Starring: Christopher Sherwood, Daniel Lane
Director: Mark Pluck
Two men hook-up in a car at night. Feeling an instant connection, this tiny space becomes their only slice of a shared world as they continue to meet there over the coming months. Their lives are entirely separate, but as they share more and more of these moments together, they must confront whether they want this compartmentalised romance to spill into the world beyond this vehicle. A deftly composed collection of duologues, the characters’ journey together is equally moving and detached, showing a depth of connection you wouldn’t expect from two men screwing in a car.
TOO ROUGH (UK)
Starring: Ruaridh Mollica, Joshua Griffin, Tomas Palmer. Director: Sean Lìonadh.
After a night of drinking, Nick wakes up to realise that the boy he brought home is still there and he must now do everything in his power to conceal him from his dysfunctional family. Hiding, terrified, in his bedroom, they listen as his parents scream at each other, hide from his violent father and try protect his little brother with learning difficulties. A truly terrifying portrait of British urban deprivation, this is a grim and raw gut-punch that lays bare bleak reality without embellishment or any need for more than just its plain truth.
Once again, Boys On Film has proved why it’s the very best collection of short films about gay men on the market. An extensive compendium of diverse material, these cinematic nuggets are romantic, sexy, dark, moving,disturbing… all in the space of two and a half hours. You’ll find your own favourite within the collection, but mine was undoubtedly Too Rough, which was one of the most moving shorts I’ve seen in a very long time.
UK Release: 24th July 2023 on VOD and DVD, released by Peccadillo Pictures