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  • Ben Turner

THE MALE GAZE: NOCTURNAL INSTINCTS - Short Film Collection

Updated: Mar 15


The new short film collection from NQV Media is out next week to watch On Demand. The Male Gaze: Nocturnal Instincts features shorts from Sweden, Belgium, Israel, China and the UK. Take a look at each of the films in the collection below...


SPIRAL (Sweden)

Starring: Alexander Abdallah, Emil Lindberg, Pär Malmström

Director: Gustav Olsson

On the eve of their departure on a trip to Argentina, Dan vanishes and his boyfriend Karim hunts the streets of Malmö looking forward him. Delving deep into the city’s criminal underbelly, he uncovers Dan’s secret life, discovering the clandestine world that he was ashamedly concealing from the man he loves. A dark crime thriller that goes the extra mile in depicting the excesses of the underworld, the film suffers from its own fragmented narrative at times, leaving it dense and impenetrable. But with the world Karim is investigating equally enigmatic, maybe that was the point.

FLOATING MELON (China)

Starring: Vincent Xi Chen, Celia Yinmeng Yu, Sirui Wen, Xu Xu

Director: Roberto F. Canuto, Xu Xiaoxi

Xiao Cheng has brought a man home from a drug-fuelled night out, but their moment of passion turns sour. As he wanders the streets after, he tries desperately to find a way to escape what he sees as his inevitable fate. A peep through the curtain on real life on the ground in Chengdu, one of China’s glossy and futuristic mega-cities, this is a film about the new China, that presents itself as the future, but is rooted interminably to its past. Grimy, bleak and morose, this is a film about the lengths you have to go to if you know the authorities are not on your side.

POOF (UK)

Starring: Aiden Nord, Miles Higson, Howard Harling. Director: Dean Anderson.

Aaron meets Mike at a party and is taken aback when he kisses him. Realising that he wants to be his boyfriend, he struggles with his own demons as he tries to come to terms with being a “poof”, the word his father throws around to mean anything negative. A film about the power casual homophobia has to belittle Queer people, this is a sweet but sad short that could have done with taking its time a bit more, as it hurtles at breakneck speed through what is otherwise a nuanced story. With an adorable couple at its centre and two very strong performances, you’ll fall in love with this couple, even if you know it can’t possibly end well.

AFTER DAWN (Belgium)

Starring: Piotr Biedron, Tijmen Govaerts

Director: Nicolas Graux

Pawel is living a solitary and sad life. He has built a buffer to protect himself from the pain of the end of his relationship, which he thinks has healed him. That is until he sees the man who broke his heart again. A contemplative short about the post-mortem on their relationship, Brussels is suitably somber and grim in this film about a man who turned his back on the only good thing he had. Nuanced and tender, the bleak grey palate drenches this story with sadness, with their love story kindling quietly amongst the concrete and the rain.

NIGHT OF LOVE (Israel)

Starring: Omri Loukas, Sasson Betzalel, Imri Sagi, Shauli Mamon, Shahar Koren, Mattan Kedem

Director: Omri Loukas

Yonatan has abandoned the army to reunite with a lover, but when he’s rejected and left to wander the streets of Tel Aviv, he heads to the flat of someone he met on Grindr, only to find himself thrust into the midst of a sex party. The 18 year-old is swiftly the star of the show, but he doesn’t want the sexual gratification, just the tenderness of a man’s embrace. As the strangers couple zombie-like through their drug-addled haze, Yonatan is unsettled as he tries to lose himself in the moment but can’t. Almost anthropological in its observation, this sexually explicit short pulls no punches as we watch this young man searching for something meaningful in the depravity of the night.


With each of the shorts revolving around its characters' exploits after dark, it's the night-time that unifies this diverse collection of shorts. 'Poof' was my favourite of the five, but together this is an eclectically comprehensive peek behind many curtains from around the world, revealing five queer experiences from five very different cultures.


UK Release: 15th March 2021 On Demand, released by NQV Media.

Click here to watch and for more info.

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