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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

BOYS ON FILM 24: HAPPY ENDINGS - Short Film Collection

Happy Endings is the new instalment in Peccadillo Pictures’ short film collection Boys On Film, continuing their anthology of gay shorts from around the world. This collection will be the final physical release before shifting online, but has gathered eleven diverse films from Uruguay, New Zealand, Israel, Colombia, France, Belgium and the UK; take a look at each below.


WE COLLIDE (UK)

Starring: Jerome Scott, Max Thomas

Director: Jason Bradbury

The shortest of shorts about two young men finding love in the moshpit, we watch via split screen as these two young men careen through the visceral head banging toward each other, united by the music in this shared euphoria. A moment captured with brisk intensity, this is an explosive opening for the collection.

FIRSTS (Australia)

Starring: David Shi, Kelvin Ta

Director: Jesse Ung

On the eve of Chinese New Year, international student Cheung has invited a man over online to lose his virginity. Even though his guest is everything he wanted, his inexperience and anticipation leaves him a quivering wreck and the two settle for conversation instead, slowly getting to know each other. A sweet short about taking baby steps in the sometimes over-direct gay world, this is a sensitive but erotically charged film about the logistics of losing one’s virginity.

SEA SPARKLES (Uruguay)

Starring: Alejandro Mata Molina, Enzo Mogrincic

Director: Diego Alvarez Parra

As Lucas prepares to leave Uruguay for good, he invites Venezuelan immigrant Juan over for a hook-up. This encounter becomes a meditation on expectations, world views and our own versions of reality, but though there is chemistry between the pair, they couldn’t be more different. And it’s this contrast that serves as a touch paper for igniting Lucas’ introspection. A film about personal truths that could only happen at the dead of night, this is a compelling and contemplative short.

ALOOF (Israel)

Starring: Nadav Portiansky, Avi Golomb, Yonatan Kubani

Director: Itai Jamshy

Yariv is a shy photographer who spends his nights in the sauna. At a family birthday, his strained relationship with his brother comes to a head, and we see this cross-cut with the extremity of what he engages with at the sex club. The dysfunction of his family is played out in the dysfunction of his sexuality, with all his repressions finding an outlet in the dark. A film of stark contrasts, this jarring short adeptly depicts the dichotomy of gay life in Tel Aviv, trying to find purpose within a family while in a city so full of temptation.

THE REV (UK)

Starring: Jack Holden, Nigel Thomas

Director: Fabia Martin

A vicar is in the midst of an identity crisis and when asked to perform a funeral, his imagination takes over as he thinks of a more colourful war to celebrate the life of a man unloved and forgotten by his family. A queer comedy about the life we want versus the life we have, the short is dominated by a fun multifaceted central performance that’s equally at home in church robes as in a bejewelled cowboy outfit. It’s glitter cannons and dance routines aplenty as we retreat into the priest’s fantasy, but it’s a fun gimmick for a joyful nugget of heavenly fun.

PRELUDE (Colombia)

Starring: Alejandro Sandoval, Katherine. Guzman, Andrés Jiménez

Directors: Sara Larota, Alejandro Sandoval

Samuel is a young concert pianist preparing for a contest that he believes will change his life forever. When he encounters the flighty Camilo at a party, their night together teaches him not just to do what is technically perfect but to feel the music too. An emotive allegory that places intimacy alongside art, this is a delicately shot film that finds light and shade in the psyche of a man who had previously only been a vessel for the music.

BEAUTIFUL STRANGER (France)

Starring: Baptiste Carrion-Weiss, Daphné Huynh, Shane Woodward

Director: Benjamin Belloir

Romain is dumped in a taxi by his boyfriend, so he spends the night in a random hotel and arranges a hookup with a random American stranger. A delightfully French sex comedy centred around a bumbling protagonist who is completely bogged down in his analytical brain, just as the film finds its poignancy it runs askew into glorious absurdity. This is a fun comedy with vivid characters that delights in being completely over the top.

YOU LIKE THAT (UK)

Starring: Jeremy McClain, Marcus Hodson

Director: Jeremy McClain

In Edinburgh, Joshua is an American student who has become obsessed with the love he has read about in nineteenth century literature. With his own X-rated pay-per-view channel dressed in period costume, he tries to navigate hook-up culture while believing in the true love only found in books. A beautifully shot and sensual short that presents the problems of Gen Z thirsting for meaning in a digital world, this is a well-written but simple film written and directed by the young star of Pose.

THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY (France)

Starring: Quentin Fébié, Pierre-François Doireau, Claïna Clavaron

Director: Arthur Cahn

In a small town in the South of France, two men find themselves unexpectedly unoccupied when their factory closes following a fire. Spending three days together, their plans to go swimming and enjoy the weather are thwarted when one falls ill and the other decides to nurse him better. As a tenderness develops between them, so too do their unexpected feelings and the two begin to navigate a new dynamic between them. Sweet, grown-up and restrained, this is a pragmatic and matter-of-fact short that creates an adorable dynamic between this otherwise decidedly ordinary pair of men.

L’HOMME INCONNU (Belgium)

Starring: Geert Van Rampelberg, Samuel Suchod, Anna Sacuto

Director: Anthony Schatteman

A Belgian writer holidays in the south of France looking for inspiration for his new book. He finds it in the bronzed and nubile body of a young man sunbathing on the shore with his girlfriend. The two strike up a friendship, but reality and fiction begin to blur as the older man goes to extremes to keep this magnetic boy’s interest. Poetic but obsessive, its dream-like facade masks the darkness of his lust, which sinks to the sea-bed of this tale of uncomfortable stimulus.

S.A.M. (UK)

Starring: George Webster, Sam Retford, David Tag

Directors: Neil Ely, Lloyd Eyre-Morgan

When two boys names Sam meet on the swings in children’s park, they strike up an immediate friendship, even though their lives are completely different. One is a solitary drifter, neglected by his mother, while the other is molly-coddled by his protective family because has Downs Syndrome. In this sweet coming-of-age short set against the harsh Mancunian winter, the boys forge a connection that goes much deeper than just mucking about in a park together. Sensitively shot and carefully scripted, the short is anchored by two sensitive but joyful performances, with the film feeling like a nugget of purity glistening from the harsh poverty of its setting.


These eleven shorts are all shrewdly observed fragments of realism, harvested from South America, Europe and Australia. While all are worth your time, it is Beautiful Stranger and S.A.M. that stand out proudly from the others.


UK Release: Out now to watch on VOD, released by Peccadillo Pictures

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