a short film by Stéphane Riethauser.
2012 | 23 mins | Switzerland - Germany.
starring: Tom Gramenz as Jan and Swen Gippa as Matthieu.
Official Synopsis: "In the deserted former Nazi holiday camp and communist military complex that is Prora, teenagers Jan and Matthieu embark on an adventure that could change everything. Whilst exploring their surroundings, they confront their identities and ultimately put their friendship at risk."
There's a lot to be said for this short film, one that finds Tom Gramenz's subtle eye movements and longing looks wonderfully signal in what direction Jan's heart lies. Only for all of the pros of this captivating piece, there's a BUT along the way, thanks to an acute narrative gap in its middle eight, one that leaves the immediate aftermath to a cutting experience, all but blowing in the wind.
Knowing such, writer and director Stéphane Riethauser tells his tale flashback fashion, complete with an opening sequence that telegraphs from the onset that "all is well" with Jan and in more ways, than one. For that is where this delectable short scores, with Riethauser having gone out of his way to play on the cultural differences between Jan of German origin and his self-proclaimed womanizer of a best friend to wondrous effect and here cue Swen Gippa as Matthieu slipping back into his native French tongue whenever tensions arise.
Complete with some stunning "campilot" aerial views of Rügen Island, Germany, together with Marcus Winterbauer's assured cinematography vividly capturing the derelict interiors of the somewhat infamous Prora building complex, the result makes for a well-executed coming-of-age piece that beautifully charts the friendship between two teenagers over the course of a holiday and the sexual awakening therein. True, the AWOL "what happens next" scene could prove to be a negative for some, but the story is so well played by the two young stars of the show that you cannot help but give this sweet 'n' tender short, a big thumbs up. Delightful.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - from the waist up.
Overall - file under ... 4 stars.