The new short film collection from NQV Media is out now to watch on demand. New Queer Visions: Parental Guidance features six shorts that explore the complexities of parenthood both for LGBT+ people and of them. With films from Germany, Hungary, Israel, China and the UK, take a look at each of the short films below.
Starring: Lucas Prisor, Dejan Bucin, Karmela Shako. Director: Charlotte Rolfes.
When a stowaway from Africa barricades herself in the engine room of a ship in Hamburg, Janosch is asked to translate to get her out. But when he promises to help her, he’s suddenly left with the care of her baby. Bringing her home to his boyfriend, the pair have to adapt their lives immediately to fulfil his promise. A striking and moving film about a deep ethical dilemma, this is a superb piece of filmmaking that sensitively explores the great immigration debate. Taking its time on this deeply human story, Janosch is torn between what he knows to be right and what the police want him to do. A remarkable short, this is the work of a real master filmmaker.
Starring: Aleksandar Aleksiev, Mihail Mutafov, Ani Bakalova. Director: Pavel Vesnakov.
Manol is a retired general who has brought up his grandson Georgi as his own. On the day he finds out that the boy in his house is gay, he sits him down to talk man to man, spilling forth his vitriol and prejudice in an attempt to emasculate and change him. A wildly uncomfortable short in which we watch Georgi sit and endure this barrage of homophobia, this is a film about toxic masculinity, set against the backdrop of post-communist Bulgaria. Dark, bleak and furious, this film is a grim character portrait of the generation the world is ready to die out.
LOST AND FOUND (Israel)
Starring: Aviv Zalishanski, Raanan Levi, Tom Hagi. Directors: Nizan Lotem, Lior Haen.
A boy meets a stranger in a park who has found his mobile phone. Initially he wants a reward for finding it, but it soon becomes apparent that he wants much more. A film about the blind panic caused by revenge porn, this very twenty-first century dilemma is thrown onto the boy’s father, who must decide what’s right for his son without flinching about his newly-revealed sexuality. A brief but compelling high drama, this short consists of only two scenes, but together they create an intense narrative centred on an impossible choice.
CHAOS TOAD (UK)
Starring: Tomm Coles, Beverley Klein, James Gillan, Mike Burnside. Director: Carlos Lopes.
Andy is a full-time carer, looking after his mother who has dementia. Isolated and lovely, he is suddenly revisited by his childhood imaginary friend Arabella Sparkle, a fabulous 80s drag queen who has come to spice up their lives. A gloriously kitsch and quaint story of being set free through imagination, this is silly, camp fun with a great big beating heart. Everyone deserves some joy in their lives and Arabella just proves it!
SUNKEN PLUM (China)
Starring: Gu Xiang, Peng Tian, Celia Yinmeng Yu, Jiaqi Chen. Directors: Roberto F. Canuto, Xu Xiaoxi.
Li Wanying’s performance at a cabaret night is booed off-stage, after which she discovers that her mother has died. She returns to her home town, but there she must return to her male identity because she feels that she won’t receive her inheritance if she doesn’t. A sad and morose piece that ends with a dedication to the marginalised trans community in China, this is also a fable for empowerment, even if it hangs its head as it does it. With a strong central performance and a delightfully ethereal dream sequence midway through, this is a compelling short that’s both moving and enraging in equal measure.
ESCAPING GRAVITY (Germany)
Starring: Sabin Tambrea, Ronald Nitschke, Hedi Kriegeskotte, Janna Horstmann, Kalle Haverland. Director: Benjamin Teske.
When the prodigal son returns to the fairground where he grew up, his parents are convinced that their life together will be better now. Except their son has been living his life as a woman and he’s not ready to give that up now. With serious friction erupting in the family, this is a story of someone insisting on her identity, despite the wants of her family. A moody piece with a nuanced performance from its lead, it captures the strained family dynamic with aplomb, even if this carnival world appears weirdly ordinary.
A wonderfully disparate collection of shorts, each of the films revolves around parenthood, manifesting in diverse ways across the planet. The strongest of the shorts is 'Samira', but the whole collection is a fantastic array of cinematic golden nuggets, lovingly curated by NQV Media.