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  • Ben Turner

THE FRENCH BOYS, PART 4 - Short Film Collection

Updated: Mar 20


The new short film collection from NQV Media is out this week to watch on demand. The French Boys, Part 4 features seven shorts collected from the across the Channel in the fourth and final instalment in this Gallic collection. Take a look at each of the short films in this collection below.


DISCRETE

Starring: Simon Fresnay, David Chausse

Director: David Chausse

In this six minute single-shot duologue, two young men chat on a park bench about the night before. As one explains his sexual exploits, the other bites off more than he chew when he asks his friend to demonstrate his seduction technique. Bristling with sexual tension, this is the kind of tête à tête that countless porn films fruitlessly try to emulate in their opening minutes, but this short succeeds with aplomb where they fail. These two hyper-masculine lads find themselves succumbing to the moment, which is so much bigger than themselves in a simply captured but wonderful snapshot of an unexpected eruption.

DISTINGUISHED FEELINGS

Starring: Bianca Li, Thierry Harcourt, Arnaud Gagnoud, Fred Bianconi, Anne Loiret, Pascale Arbillot

Director: Keren Marciano

In this bizarre short-musical-quasi-black-and-white-pastiche-melodrama - yes, I know that’s a LOT - Elena learns that her partner has fallen out of love with her. Arranging for him to be seduced by a man, feeling that it will hurt less if he leaves her for a man than a woman, she becomes a victim of her own success when the seduction turns into something much more. There is a plethora of ideas going on here and this smorgasbord of cinematic nods are about as nourishing as a gargantuan beige buffet. It delights in its idiosyncrasy, but this is a silly mess that is entirely styles (of which there are many) over substance. It’s fun, I guess, but it’s also the very definition of “too much”.

RUE DES ROSES

Starring: Philippe Bas, Fabien Ducommun, Manon Perrain

Director: Patrick Fabre

Stiff, withdrawn and resentful, a little girl visits her father and his new boyfriend on Father’s Day. The meal is awkward and conversation strained, but just because this first encounter is like this, it doesn’t mean it will always be for her. A nicely compact two-act short that depicts the changing relationship of a father and daughter, this is a sweet and moving film about the family politics of gay parenthood that neatly bookends two decades of their lives.

FIRST LOVE

Starring: Andrea Romano, Romain Eck, Harald Marlot

Director: Florent Gouëlou

Baptiste has been the dutiful boyfriend of drag queen Cookie Kunty for five years, following her night after night, traipsing bar to bar across Paris. She’s surrounded by fauning fans, but he no longer sees their life together through rose-tinted glasses and is questioning whether their life together is worth it. A surprisingly introspective film about drag, it still revels a little too much in its performances that serve as a distraction from its somewhat light plot.

THE EDGE

Starring: Aïmen Derriachi, Yuming Hey

Director: David Chausse

A dancer and a pizza delivery man are trapped on the roof of an apartment building together. The total opposite of each other, the tension mounts as the hours drag on, with the pair desperate to get away from one another. As the sun sets, their mutual hatred begins to soften and though clearly each other’s opposite, they discover there is common ground to be found between them. A beautifully sun-drenched duologue that builds two vivid characters in this confined - albeit widely open - space, the script lends itself well to a pair of sturdy performances. It’s a concept that’s been done before - by most sitcoms in fact - but it’s a winning formula and it’s done great justice here.

WITHOUT TRANSITION

Starring: Harrison Arevalo, Paul Granier

Director: Paul Granier

Leo is shy and withdrawn. He’s had relationships with girls, but when he encounters the charming and beguiling Thom he ventures on a date with a man for the very first time. Tentative, nervous but excited, this is territory he has imagined but never sampled before and he is wholly reinvigorated by it. A moving depiction of pastures new, Leo isn’t scared of what he’s doing, just cautiously eager. With two compelling central characters, this is a sweet romance whose tension is equal parts sexual and that of self-discovery.

FRAGILE

Starring: Youssouf Abi-Ayad, Pierre Emö, Daphné Huynh

Director: Hakim Mao

Mehdi lives with his best friend, Olive, who urges him to get out and play the field, but he’s a hopeless romantic, waiting for the perfect man. That is, until he starts chatting to Félix online. He’s only interested in one thing and when Leo meets him, he realises that he’s not living up to his own potential. In this problematic Grease-esque short in which a character changes everything about himself to please the man he fancies, there is a lot of racial fetishisation on show here as Mehdi evolves into the stereotype he had previously avoided. With fairly graphic sex scenes, this is a film of mixed messages, carefully depicting its lead as a warm and refined man, before diving head-first into eroticism and something much more base.


This final instalment of The French Boys quadrilogy does not disappoint, with this diverse collection of shorts living up to the standard set by its predecessors. A veritable boulangerie of cinematic delights, all four releases have brought the very best of French short-filmmaking to a very eager Anglo-Saxon audience. And all four have been like a very fulfilling breakfast, laden with croissants and viennoiserie aplenty.


UK Release: Out now on VOD, released by NQV Media.

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