a film by Marco Kreuzpaintner
2004 | 98 mins | Germany
›› Summer Storm - Sommersturm
an uplifting variation on the theme of coming out
Summer Storm by Marco Kreuzpaintner Guaranteed to please in a big way, this joyous film from writer and director Marco Kreuzpaintner is as bright and breezy, as summer itself.

For here cue the lives of best friends Tobi and Achim, so close to each other that they jump at the chance to spend extra time together as cox and oarsman of their local rowing team, when the team leaves for summer camp for the national junior competition. Yet equally training alongside them is Achim's girlfriend Sandra, whose best friend Anke just happens to have the hots for Tobi. And therein lies the problem. For whilst Achim is more than happy to engage in lip-service with Sandra, Tobi just doesn't feel the same way about Anke. Indeed and if anything, he wishes her lips were those of his best friend ... but surely that doesn't mean he's gay? Thankfully camping it onto the riverside to give advice and a lot more besides, is the rival QUEERSTROKE rowing team; that of an open bunch of gay boys who Tobi feels increasingly drawn to. As a sunburnt back gives way to more than just a spot of manly massage, Tobi comes to question his sexuality and the realization that his feelings for Achim have gone way past those of mere friendship.

Summer Storm by Marco Kreuzpaintner Beautifully filmed, with the lush cinematography of the German countryside seamlessly intercut with lingering camera shots of the male form in all of its athletic glory, this uplifting variation on the theme of coming out is in many ways a hybrid of the features Forgive & Forget and the now classic Beautiful Thing, given that it relates the "love for your best friend" scenario of the former, mixed with the gradual realisation of one's sexuality being "different to those around you" of the latter.

Yet this work is not based on fiction. Rather this is, in part, an autobiographical piece, inspired by a director who fell in love with his own best friend. Only here Kreuzpaintner does not preach at you, preferring instead to bring to the fore the serious issue of homophobia, by way of the boys from the straight side of town being forced to confront their fears and prejudice of homosexuality when one of their own turns out to bat, or should that be row, for the other team.

Aided by an energetic young cast who naturally covey the raw emotions of teenagers desperate to assert their sexuality - whatever form that may take, the result is a pure crowd-pleaser, laced as it is with a series of perfectly timed comic turns, let alone a homoerotic, yet ever so tender lovemaking sequence. Light but serious, funny yet passionate, this marks a totally upbeat approach to the perennial theme of being true to thyself. An absolute delight.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue: 14.November.2005 / UK.
screened as part of the 19th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, 2005.
starring: Robert Stadlober, Kostja Ullmann, Alicja Bachleda-Curus, Tristano Casanova,
Miriam Morgenstern, Marlon Kittel, Hanno Koffler, Jürgen Tonkel,
Alexa Maria Surholt, Jeff Fischer and Joseph M'Barek.
Copyright 2005 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #110
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