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  • Ben Turner

THE MALE GAZE: CELLULOID DREAMS - Short Film Collection


The new short film collection from NQV Media is out soon to watch on demand. The Male Gaze: Celluloid Dreams features seven shorts collected from the last few decades, dating back into the 1980s, serving as a filmic time capsule of Queer History. With films from the USA, UK, Brazil, Greece and France, take a look at each of the short films below.


JUST OUT OF REACH (USA)

Starring: Steve Connell, Tom Fitzpatrick

Director: Jonathan Wald

A young man wakes up alongside an older gentleman; someone he knows through his father. As he tries to sneak out, he is caught in the act. An ultra-short film that captures a brief moment in time, this is about that feeling of uncertainty upon remembering the night before.

TOTO FOREVER (USA)

Starring: Kylan James, Kjord Davis, Diana Grivas, Alexander Aguila

Director: Roberto F. Canuto

A young postman finds himself embroiled in gang warfare when he comes across the bloodied and bruised unconscious body of a handsome gangster and falls in love. A crime thriller set against the sun-drenched landscape of Middle America, this vibrantly technicolour short has the feel of ‘Natural Born Killers’, with our duo saying little to each other but running from assassins. Luscious, sleek and sexy, this is the kind of filmmaking reminiscent of Tarantino, Rodriguez and Oliver Stone.

MEN DON’T CRY (Greece)

Starring: Themis Panou, Petros Lagoutis, Vasilis Argyrakis

Director: Kyriakos Chatzimichailidis

Petros is surprised to receive a visitor one stormy night. It is Ilias, a much younger man whom he met several years before on a night out, whose erratic behaviour now is disconcerting. Petros wants his uninvited guest to leave, but Ilias is refusing to go. A film about confronting uncomfortable truths, the tense narrative is interspersed with grainy black and white footage of the night they met. A concise and well-made short assembled with cinematic flair, it plays with the idea of villainhood, because in cinema, there always has to be a bad guy, right?

ALGER LA BLANCHE (France)

Starring: Frédéric Deban, Ali Baouche, Farida Chrouki, Aïssa Djabri, Mohammed Zran

Director: Cyril Collard

In the suburbs of Paris, Farid wants to move to Algiers with his secret boyfriend Jean, but when he is arrested for stealing a bike, his conservative Algerian family and liberal French boyfriend are set on a collision course as events head beyond Farid’s control. A bleak portrait of les banlieues, this gem of a short film is a time capsule reminiscent of ‘La Haine’. Gritty, visceral and urban, the grim concrete streets are far from the romanticised Paris and there is no glossy veneer on this doomed multinational love story. A window on a world and a time period far removed from our own, this is the kind of vintage short wholly worth preservation.

UNCONFESSIONS (Brazil)

Director: Ana Galizia.

Luiz Galizia died young, one of the victims of the early days of the AIDS Crisis. He left behind a large personal archive of materials from his life, which his niece, Ana, has lovingly assembled into this documentary biopic thirty years later. A moving and beautiful tribute to the life of the uncle she lost, this is an encapsulating snapshot of a fabulous man who moved to San Francisco to experience a life that was doomed to be cut down in its prime. As we hear Ana in the final minutes, she tells of the final days that her uncle could not document himself. An unflinching and unashamed record of a gloriously queer life, this is a moving and compelling film.

SAME DIFFERENCE (UK)

Starring: Jonathon Natynczyk, Chris Piper, Nigel Shipp, Bianca Bonomi

Director: Harry Richards

Noel and Leon are twins who share their entire lives. With the same friends, school and bedroom, it now looks like they’re both pursuing the same girl. Or, at least, that’s how it seems to Leon until Noel decides to make a completely unexpected revelation. A gloriously 00s British teen drama, this is full of gelled hair, primary-coloured sportswear and plenty of angst-filled brow-beating. It even has a delightfully indie soundtrack, which will make you yearn for the days of AOL dial-up and CD:UK.

BOYCHICK (USA)

Starring: Ben Lang, Andrea La Bella, Greg Siff, Lindsey Girardot, Nic Arnzen

Director: Glenn Gaylord

In the American suburbs, a decidedly ordinary boy is mollycoddled by his overbearing Jewish mother, who calls him Boychick. As he tries to build up enough courage to speak to his crush at school, he is suddenly visited with spectral assistance from pop sensation Ashley Hart, with whom he is obsessed. A fun and unabashedly teen miasma of colourful bubblegum pop, this is a fizzing celebration of escapist joy from a teenage gay youth resting on pop culture to help him grow up. Instantly recognisable, Boychick is the filmic enactment of most gay men’s teenhood.


Together, this is a remarkable historic collection that serves as a collective record of the world’s Queer past. Its disparate strands depict soaring highs and calamitous lows, world events and personal memories, all packaged together in this “celluloid dream”. A collection of LGBT+ short films unlike any other, these wonderful slices of cinema could easily have disappeared into the annals of time without this remarkable new venture from NQV Media.

UK Release: 2nd November 2021 on VOD, released by NQV Media.

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