›› Utopia - Utopies
a short film by Manfred Rott.
2012 | 22 mins | France.
starring: Pierre Elliott / Thomas, Romain Poli / Julien; co-starring Florian Chauvet, Ibrahima N'diaye and Isac Bakayoko.
Adapted Synopsis: "Suspected of being gay, Thomas finds himself constantly harassed by the youngsters in his poor neighbourhood. Taking refuge in the utopia of freedom away from the ingrained homophobia of estate life, he finally meets his clat line friend Julien, a teen from a different social background and together the two explore the suburbs around Paris; that of the utopian architectural projects from times where a better future for all was still an aim of society. Only do they have a future together as friends, or perhaps as lovers?"
Shot in 16mm, in b/w with an almost faded feel to it, this Jarman-esque styled piece from co-writer and director Manfred Rott beautifully captures the friendship that develops between two young men, that of the "getting to know you" stage of strangers, becoming friends. Only this is a short film in which the utopia of the title is not just to be found in the futuristic building designs, of times past. Rather this is a work on the utopia of need; be it a place to sleep, to live free from homophobic abuse or even and in Julien's case, a longing to share your life with "the one." But is Thomas the man of his dreams?
Thomas, dreaming of a world without homophobia in Utopia.
What can be said is that Rott delights in his characters, with shy boy Thomas the very opposite of the sexually experienced and confident persona of Julien, roles that both Pierre Elliott and Romain Poli play with a captivating naturalness, including some delightful scenes of teenagers getting to know each other and in more ways than one, as words give way to sequences of lush same-sex lip-service and more. That Thomas emerges stronger from the experience showcases a full circle work that is all about story; that of the relationship between the two young men and of their personal dreams and desires that culminate in - well, that would be saying. Good location work however goes without saying, given some of these tower blocks were clearly unorthodox, if pioneering designs of the day.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - from the pubes up.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.