THE MALE GAZE: THREE’S COMPANY - Short Film Collection
The new short film collection from NQV Media is out now to watch on demand. The Male Gaze: Three’s Company features six shorts that see the complications of relationships beyond couples, whether that’s families, friendships or sexual encounters. With films from Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium, take a look at each of the short films below.
GOLDEN BOYS (Canada)
Starring: Kristopher Turner, Robbie Graham-Kuntz, Alex Harrouch, Steven Yaffee, Michael Kaplan, André Dae Kim, Steven Pigozzo. Director: Jill Riley.
A group of three friends have gone through life as the Golden Boys: privileged, fortunate and lucky. When they break into their old private school one night, they cavort in the halls and reminisce about the fun they had, but one of them has become increasingly troubled by memories of how they used to be homophobic bullies toward one of their peers. A melancholic reflection on nostalgia and our different perceptions of the same past, this is particularly relevant in our current age of cronyism. Dreamlike and languid, this is a sad short about regret and guilt.
IN BEATING CELLS (Germany)
Starring: Philipp Kronenberg, Linn Reusse, Lukas Sperber, Zarina Zöller. Director: Richard Kranzin.
Two straight couples have been on a forest road trip together. Camping in lakeside woodland idylls, their time together has made them all extremely close, but especially the two boys. After a night when they all have sex together, the girls are left confused as the dynamic radically shifts between their boyfriends. Beautifully shot in a sleepy rural backwater, the calm is broken by the rising tensions between them. A contemplative short about sexual awakening, it adeptly explores how difficult it is for the girls as well as the boys. A superb piece about fracturing relationships, this captures all the anguish through a handful of strong performances and a confident director handling compelling material.
THE MIDDLE OF A LAKE (France)
Starring: Antoine Gouy, Satya Dusaugey, Prune Beuchat, Nicole Turpin, Martin Buraud. Director: Guillaume Mainguet.
After the funeral of his father, Vincent and his family gather for a meal together in the back of the family’s butcher shop. When he reveals to them that he intends to leave the next day with his boyfriend, his brother is furious with him. A film about familial duty and grief, this is a maudlin and reflective short that depicts the burden of expectation. Subtle to the point of density, there is a lot going on between the siblings, even if it’s not entirely clear what. As the family speed out into the middle of a lake to scatter their father’s ashes on cold winter’s day, we are left understanding little more than when we started.
Starring: Mattias Van de Vijver, Sofiene Mamdi, Michael Muller. Director: Jordi Wijnalda.
Two men are kicked out of a nightclub in Paris one night. They are from very different walks of life and their racist and violent altercation in the street attracts the attention of Gilles, who is passing with his boyfriend and tries to break them apart. But his well-meaning intervention does nothing but inflame them both, whose anger is channelled instead toward him, their common prejudice. A bleak and nasty film about discrimination and hate, its characters are cruel and sadistic. This is not a happy short.
KIKO'S SAINTS (France)
Starring: Lika Minamoto, François Burgun, Arthur Gillet, Kengo Saito, Ryohei Tamura. Director: Manuel Marmier.
A Japanese animator is holidaying in France, searching for inspiration. She unexpectedly find it when she happens across a pair of muscle-bound lovers having sex on a beach. She develops an obsession with observing them as they become the object of her work. But when they discover her, she embarks on a voyage of self-discovery. A short about curiosity and voyeurism, she sees beauty in their intimacy, which is not held back on camera. As the images on her page develop into animation, the film transforms into a glorious celebration of sexual fluidity and worship of the flesh. This is a brilliant piece that crosses boundaries of sexuality and genre.
WITH THELMA (Belgium)
Starring: Jean Le Peltier, Vincent Lecuyer, Thelma Balboni, Gilles Remiche. Directors: Ann Sirot, Raphaël Balboni.
A gay couple are suddenly landed with baby Thelma when their relatives are stranded abroad when a volcano erupts. Eagerly awaiting their return, they initially flounder with the responsibilities of fatherhood, but as they get used to the chaos of looking after their niece, they realise that even in their cultured and refined lives there is room for a child. A sweet and deftly observed short in which the actors work brilliantly alongside a precocious little girl, this will absolutely melt your heart as its subjects succumb to the draw of parenthood.
A strong collection of shorts, the unifying "three's company" strand manifests itself in wholly disparate ways. The strongest of the shorts is 'Kiko's Angels', but the whole collection is a glorious buffet of international delights, carefully curated by NQV Media.
UK Release: Out Now on demand, released by NQV Media