NEW QUEER VISIONS: THE LAST DAYS OF INNOCENCE - Short Film Collection
The new short film collection from NQV Media is out today to watch on demand. New Queer Visions: The Last Days Of Innocence features four shorts collected from Switzerland, Czechia, France and North Macedonia, each depicting key moments in childhood relating to sexuality. Take a look at each of the short films in this collection below.
Starring: Paul Lecomte, Simon Royer
Director: Benoît Duvette
In a misty forest at the dead of night, two boys are on the run. From what is unclear, because while sometimes they flee together, at others they are alone. This is an ambiguous and atmospheric short in which these two young men come together for a moment of self-discovery while also going it alone in the world. If this summary seems somewhat unclear, it’s because the narrative is exactly that, but it very successfully creates enigmatic frantic confusion, which - in this small dose - is satisfyingly strange. And the lens positively drinks its breathless leads with a marked serenity that makes for intriguing and charged viewing.
Starring: Paulin Jaccoud, Schemci Lauth, Jocelyne Desverchère
Director: Simon Guélat
Alban lives in a Swiss mountain village with his mother. At night, he creeps off to meet Julien, a hunky gardener who shares his name with the protagonist of the novel Alban is reading. As the romance develops, so too does both their secrecy, hiding their relationship from everyone around them. An angsty teenage romance played out against the serenity of an Alpine winter, the idealism of the novel is a big jump from reality, which sees Alvin ostracised for who he is and the way he dresses. Though hardly Romeo & Juliet, the pair make for a refreshingly diverse screen couple, with the Swiss Alps looking stunning behind them.
SNAKE (North Macedonia)
Starring: Vedran Delidzakov, Borce Nacev, Marijan Najdovski, Gabriela Petrusevska
Director: Andrey Volkashin
In a small Macedonian town, nine year-old Mario encounters the eccentric young gay man Borche and becomes fascinated both by his pet albino snake and his eccentric and colourful lifestyle. Imitating the flamboyance of his new friend, his new culture of dress-up and glamour is met with fury from his family, teaching him that being effeminate is wrong. A sad short about the hatred bred into children by their parents, this is a touching story told with a nostalgic 1:1 ratio, looking like an Instagram Polaroid from childhood, except this isn’t about idealism, just cold, hard conditioning of an otherwise innocent mind.
THE TOUCHING (Czechia)
Starring: Herman Tajovský, Krystof Brand, Lída Jakubuv, Jana Olhová, Erika Stárková
Director: Dominik György
Young brothers David and Marek share a bedroom, but as well as playing games together, they have crossed a line beyond curiosity. Played out in sombre black and white, this incredibly controversial short about the limits of brotherly love is handled sensitively and with childlike reverence as we see these two boys growing up together in communist Czechoslovakia. With their father gone and a cold mother, the boundaries of family and limits of affection are gone, leaving behind only upset and confusion. A beautifully dramatic piece that concludes with a heart-racing climax, this is masterful filmmaking that depicts scandalous content without ever sensationalising it.
Together, this is a contentious collection, which works backwards from familiar Queer cinematic territory into controversial and unsettling content, albeit exquisitely made. Just as the topic of childhood sexuality is a disquieting topic, so too is its exploration on film. But with strong hands on the tiller, these shorts delicately unpick the complexity of sexuality before, during and after adolescence. And the results are dramatic, tense and entirely human. A superb but often troubling collection.
UK Release: 27th December 2021 on VOD, released by NQV Media.