›› Latest Reviews #2 ‹‹

With more short film reviews that what you can shake a screenplay at, these are the latest reviews I've written as of December 2018. As ever, check out the links below to jump to the title of your choice, OR scroll down to see all the reviews featured to-date.

Latest Reviews #1 as is obvious, links to a series of reviews I penned earlier in the year.

More reviews are - coming soon.
Dave :)

›› reviews on this page ‹‹

Away With Me | Follow Me | Golden | Heavy Weight | I Love Hooligans | Jamie

Naked | One Night Only | Pria - Man | Tapette - The Mousetrap | Walk with Me | We Could Be Parents | When a Man Loves a Woman

›› We Could Be Parents ‹‹

a short film by Bjõrn Elgerd.

2016 | 15 mins | Sweden.

an achingly poignant portrait of a young man longing to be back with his ex-boyfriend.

Dave says:

Essentially a one-take monologue, this downright earnest short is still a hard sell, given and unlike most 'talking head' productions, this work is played direct to camera with no scene changes, on the ploy of making a film to explain a misunderstanding that resulted with the love of his life, leaving him. The result is a work that vividly captures the inner turmoil of a man who finds himself alone in the world, his partner having left him when he found out that he was selling himself for sex. Yet what the film reveals is that his sole reason for doing so, was to raise money for the two to become parents. Without that desire and inparticular on his partner's side to have a child, sex-for-sale would never have entered their loving relationship.

Set against a bleak industrial wasteland, with the only other character that of an man who uses the abandoned site as a drive-thru for sex., writer, director and star of the show Bjõrn Elgerd as Erik does an achingly poignant portrait of a young man longing to be back with his ex-boyfriend, who he is literally doing anything for. And whilst Erik's method to raise money is questionable, his background is something of a mystery, given it's all but obvious that this young man has had one too many hard knocks in life and losing his partner, could well be the last straw. All of which makes for a remarkably honest depiction of love and the emotional heartache when the one you love leaves you, without knowing the full picture. It's also one of the few films that shines the spotlight on the inherent difficulties for gay couples to have a child and the seemingly uphill battle of surrogacy, legal issues and costs. Say no more.

›› available as part of the BOYS ON FILM #16 shorts compilation - Possession.
›› posted: Wednesday, 5th December, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 


›› Away With Me ‹‹

a short film by Oliver Mason.

2015 | 11 mins | UK - France.

a bittersweet exploration of a burgeoning relationship.

Dave says:

There's a lush holiday feel to this short film from Oliver Mason of The Merman's Tale fame, one that finds Paolo (Lee Knight) jump at the "come away with me" offer to spend a long weekend in Nice, in spite of having only just met Alex (Chris Polick); namely the man with the keys to his Aunt's holiday home. Then again, when the French Riviera comes calling for free, would you rather stay in rainswept Blighty? And it's here that Mason paints an idealistic portrait of a summer romance, as the two men become increasingly at home in each other's company; whether having their breakfast together on the balcony, exploring the streets of Nice hand-in-hand, or swimming in the sun-drenched waves of the Mediterranean Sea.

Played with a natural charm by the Knight / Polick pair, boys who do not mind getting down to some sensuous man-on-man action, this is but a bittersweet exploration of a burgeoning relationship, one that appears to be picture-perfect, until Mason lets slip with a hint of trouble-at-t-mill, given something else is clearly going on beneath the surface. Only the ending is too rushed for my liking, as the clash of expectations between the two comes into focus. That the narrative questions just what the two men want for their relationship, is all but obvious, with Alex yearning for love, only for Paolo's longing to be more of a physical nature. But with the men sexy, the location hot and the holiday atmosphere beautifully captured; hey, what's not to like?

›› available as part of the BOYS ON FILM #16 shorts compilation - Possession.
›› posted: Thursday, 29th November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 


›› When a Man Loves a Woman ‹‹

a short film by Charlie Francis.

2016 | 10 mins | UK.

a comical short that wondrously illustrates how sexual honesty is by far the best policy.

Dave says:

There's a nice vibrancy to this comical short that keeps it bouncing along its humorous path, whilst equally reinforcing how much easier it would be if gay boy Nick (Tommy Jay Brennan) just came out of the closet. Only that's the last thing this Scottish lad wants to do, having persuaded his best friend Amanda (Jemima Spence) to pose as his girlfriend should the time ever arrive when his mother comes calling. And today is D-Day. Disaster day, that is, given Amanda arrives with a hangover following a one-night stand of girl-on-girl fun. Reluctant to play the part, can the two pose as the loving pair for one night only?

Written by Katie White and directed by Charlie Francis, both of the Iris Prize award-winning short Middle Man fame, this is but a cinematic showcase to illustrate the extremes that some may go to hide their true sexual self from friends and family, with everything gay here going back in the (water) closet and seemingly every stereotypical heterosexual trait put on show for Mommie Dearest to see; that is if she can see past her Victorian values. What some may see coming however and others perhaps not is the neat twist-in-the-tale ending, one that wondrously illustrates how sexual honesty is by far the best policy. All of which makes for a slapstick short that delights in delivering a serious point. And its brilliantly played for all its worth by one and all.

›› available as part of the BOYS ON FILM #16 shorts compilation - Possession.
›› posted: Tuesday, 27th November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 


›› Jamie ‹‹

a short film by Christopher Manning.

2016 | 9 mins | UK.

a wondrous depiction of a young man still on the coming out journey of life.

Dave says:

Opening with a family birthday party, this wondrous short film from writer and director Christopher Manning tells the story of a young man not out to all of his family, if hardly anyone, seeking refuge instead in chatting to men online, that is until one day Jamie (Sebastian Christophers) plucks up the courage to meet with chat guy Ben (Raphael Verrion) in person. What follows is a beautifully natural depiction of the first date scenario, with Christophers' playing his character with all of the awkwardness of a young man not used to being around other gay men, let alone a man more experienced in the ways of the world. Only here Ben, played with understated charm by Verrion, does not take advantage of the situation; rather he takes a compassionate approach to their rendezvous, encouraging Jamie to be at ease with himself and his sexuality, both chatting about their first guy, even if it's all but obvious that this is Jamie's first meeting with an openly gay man, only he doesn't want to admit to it being so. It's a simple story, but it's beautifully told, in particular the closing scene that's filled with all of the raw emotions of a young man who is clearly still on the coming out journey of life. Simply wonderful.

›› available as part of the BOYS ON FILM #16 shorts compilation - Possession.
›› part of the #FiveFilms4Freedom 2017 series of short films.
›› posted: Friday, 23rd November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› Follow Me - Volg Mij ‹‹

a short film by Anthony Schatteman.

2015 | 16 mins | Belgium.

an enigmatic depiction of unrequited love.

Dave says:

Vividly played as part of the on-going story of aspiring artist Jasper of Kiss Me Softly fame, this is but an enigmatic depiction of unrequited love, of that kind that student Jasper (Ezra Fieremans) has for his art teacher Gerard (Maarten Ketels). Only here Jasper's sexual longing has crossed the line, having gone beyond ringing Gerard's unanswered mobile to stalking the man himself, even if it's all but clear that Gerard is straight, paired up with his girlfriend at an art museum and in more ways, than one. Somehow, it has to stop. Only have we been shown the full picture?

For that's the question here, given director Anthony Schatteman delights in delivering a perplexing work, that whilst beautifully shot in widescreen nevertheless plays like a cinematic puzzle, along the way blurring the narrative between reality and fantasy in a kind of voyeuristic style, as Jasper eavesdrops on the couple getting-it-on in a cubicle, ever wishing her body, was his. Fieremans, it has to be said, is wonderfully nature in the role; his subtle eye movements revealing his characters' very thoughts and feelings on a man who wants their relationship to end. Yet the question of the exact nature of their relationship dominates throughout, until that is the closing act reveals all. As ever, check it out and see what you think.

›› available as part of the BOYS ON FILM #16 shorts compilation - Possession.
›› check out the Official FreeView on Vimeo.
›› posted: Thursday, 22nd November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 


›› Heavy Weight ‹‹

a short film by Jonny Ruff.

2016 | 13 mins | UK.

an achingly realistic portrait of to thy ownself not being true.

Dave says:

Well-played throughout, this sharply shot and edited short from director Jonny Ruff charts the life and times of Paris (Chuku Modu); a skilled fighter whose standing as the King of the Ring is suddenly under threat upon the arrival of tough Irish newcomer Connor (Jace Moody). The two instantly connect; sparring with each other with such force that it's all but obvious that there's something else going on between them, something that neither wants to admit to, until the other makes the first move. Jointly written by stars of the show Modu and Moody, this is but an achingly realistic portrait of to thy ownself not being true, until that is the strain of it all delivers the killer kiss. In short and by no surprise, this physical piece focuses on the last taboo; namely coming out in the macho world of male dominated sports. And none more so than boxing; surely an even more difficult arena to be your true sexual self, than that of the so-called Beautiful Game. Or is it? For here the name Orlando Cruz comes a mind; a Puerto Rican professional boxer who after coming out publicly, added the rainbow flag to his boxing shorts, along the way hoping one day to become the first openly gay boxer to win a world title. Yet as this short painfully shows, it takes a brave man to 'say it with pride' in such a hyper-masculine and downright bloody environment. As ever, check it out and see what you think.

›› part of the #FiveFilms4Freedom 2017 series of short films.
›› check out the Official FreeView on Vimeo.
›› posted: Friday, 16th November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› Golden ‹‹

a short film by Kai Stänicke.

2015 | 3 mins | Germany.

a compelling cinematic testament to being different.

Dave says:

This is probably one of the shortest short films that I've reviewed and yet in its succinct style it somewhat artistically tells the story of a young man; from his birth through his teenage years to his student days, only through it all he knows that he's 'different' to those around him - for he is 'golden'. Raised with unconditional love by his parents, he ventures into university life seemingly alone in the world, only to discover that he's far from the only child born that way. Written and directed by Kai Stänicke and packing a lot of life's goalposts into its brief duration, this is but a compelling cinematic testament to being different. And whilst the young man is clearly gay, the state of being 'different' is but universal; be it your sexuality, race or religion. Beautifully played, this is but three minutes worth of self-acceptance joy.

›› available as part of the BOYS ON FILM #16 shorts compilation - Possession.
›› also available as an Official FreeView on YouTube.
›› posted: Wednesday, 14th November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› I Love Hooligans ‹‹

a short film by Jan-Dirk Bouw.

2013 | 13 mins | Netherlands - Belgium.

a lost soul sacrifices his very being for the game of football.

Dave says:

Folk will know that its rare that I review animated works, preferring instead the live action medium. Yet this powerful animated tale from writer and director Jan-Dirk Bouw cuts to the emotional core in a way that few films do, given cartoons can often get away with depicting horrors that many a film would shy away from. And no more so than showcasing the bloody reality of the so-called beautiful game, when in losing a match, some deem it appropriate to vent their anger by 'taking it out' on the victors leaving the stadium in appalling acts of violence. Only this is more than just the story of bitter rivalry. Rather this is the story of a man whose inhuman persona is but a mask to hide his true sexuality, given he knows that if ever his fellow hooligans suspected for one moment that he's gay, they would not hesitate to inflict upon him the bloody beatings that he's inflicted upon others.

Told documentary fashion with a disguised voice as the narrative, the result makes for an achingly sad tale of a man so obsessed with his love of football, that everything else in his life takes second place to match day. It's a passion that overrides all; ever suppressing his homosexuality so as to blend in with the macho culture of those around him. Longing to be his true self, yet knowing 'in the game' he never can, he's left permanently closeted and forever alone; a lost soul who's sacrificed his life - his very being, for the game of football. And it's a tragic reality for some.

›› available as part of the BOYS ON FILM #14 shorts compilation - Worlds Collide.
›› posted: Sunday, 11th November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - covert. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› Tapette - The Mousetrap ‹‹

a short film by Satya Dusaugey.

2016 | 25 mins | France.

an hilarious example of coming out; screwball style.

Dave says:

Few countries do screwball comedies as well as the French do and this short film from co-writer, director and star of the show Satya Dusaugey is an hilarious example of the genre. For here Dusaugey casts himself as hapless builder Michel, who incensed by a comment from co-worker and best friend Thierry (Karim Saidi) that he could be gay opts to come out to his girlfriend Charlotte (Caroline Anglade), only to find that she's as unconvinced that he's gay, as he is. So what's a seemingly straight boy to do to prove he's gay? And the answer is - get a man. Or could it be get a mousetrap instead, given straight or not, Michel is as scared of mice as they come and certainly the one getting free board and lodgings in his apartment. It's a neat subplot that comes full circle, in particular if you stay for the closing scene after the end credits have rolled. In short, this is one of those works that I would have liked to have seen more of, playing as-it-does like the opening reel of a feature, with everyone picture-perfect in their roles. And unlike many a supposed comedy, this short does have a series of downright comical turns, many of which are played deadpan style to great effect. Well staged and shot throughout and with Dusaugey certainly not shy when it comes to revealing all to the camera, frankly; what's not to like?

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Saturday, 3rd November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - the full monty. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› One Night Only ‹‹

a short film by Sam Langshaw.

2017 | 10 mins | Australia.

an uplifting take on being true to yourself.

Dave says:

There's a lovely moral take to this uplifting short from writer and director Sam Langshaw, one that speaks of being true to yourself and not just in terms of sexuality. For it's that dilemma that all-round cutie Tyler (Tom Mendes) finds himself in, when in gatecrashing a party with his best friend Erica, he's invited to the bedroom of his online hook-up for the night Theo (Tim May); a man only too keen to get down to some serious man-sex, provided Tyler removes the make-up he arrived in. Proud of his glamorous self and yet eager to sample some manly delights, is Tyler prepared to swallow his sexual pride for one night only? And here I'm not saying. What I will add is that this University of Sydney piece is nicely shot and staged, even if Ellen Wiltshire as party girl Erica all but steals the show from Mendes in such a glam role. And yet, the real star of the show is the message itself; that of being true to yourself, given in the whole of Sydney surely Tyler can find someone who likes him - just the way he is!

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Friday, 2nd November, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 


›› Walk with Me ‹‹

a short film by Hazart.

2016 | 15 mins | US.

an enchanting cinematic ode to romance.

Dave says:

Written and directed by Kyle Hasday and Matt Stewart working under the collective name of "Hazart", this enchanting cinematic ode to romance begins with lonesome Eric out walking his dog Harvey, only to bump into the sexually confident Ryan. Staring into each other's eyes for that second longer than a casual glance, Ryan on the spur of the moment asks Eric to "walk with me" on the pretence of going to a show. In reality, it's an opportunity for two strangers to get to know each other. In short, this is a work that focuses on the dilemma of whether or not to throw caution to the wind and take the risk of being hurt in getting to know someone who could, or could not turn out to be the love of your life. Staged for the main part as a two-man play and filmed in downtown Los Angeles, frankly, there's a lot to like here. And the fact that the boys get down to some passionate kissing only adds to the romantic feel of a work that finds "Hazart" thankfully not leaving the narrative unresolved. Yet whilst Grant Jordan as Eric is wonderfully sweet in the role of a man more obsessed with contemplating his future, than living the present, it's Evan Todd who steals the show as seemingly carefree Ryan, only for the seven years later postscript to shine the light on who ultimately took a chance on love. Delightful.

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Saturday, 27th October, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 


›› Pria - Man ‹‹

a short film by Yudho Aditya.

2017 | 22 mins | Indonesia.

a compelling work on what it means to be gay and Muslim in a traditional society.

Dave says:

Set in rural Indonesia, this heartfelt short from co-writer and director Yudho Aditya bravely shines the spotlight on arranged marriages within the Muslim community and in particular those gay teenagers seemingly caught in the trap of longing to explore their true sexuality; yet knowing they must honour tradition. For it's that oxymoron of family duty and sexual freedom that dominates the narrative, one that opens with young Aris (Chicco Kurniawan) in no hurry to attend his own engagement ceremony to a girl he has no romantic feelings for. Both families are however joyous with the union and yet Aris's heart is filled with pain; one that must remain hidden. No surprise then that the words "I don't want to get married", an unofficial subtitle if ever there was one, are soon to pass Aris's lips in a confession to his English tutor and a man all but obviously gay. Their brief moments together are sweet and loving, scenes that Aditya strikingly juxtaposes with the sadness in Aris's eyes when duty comes calling. For make no mistake this is a powerful and downright compelling work on what it means to be gay and Muslim in a traditional society. Wonderully played by Kurniawan, frankly it's impossible not to be moved by the shorts' close of play, one that acutely reflects the pressures to succumb to social and religious conformity, over personal happiness. Go see.

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Thursday, 25th October, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 


›› Naked ‹‹

a short film by Daniel Hagberg.

2013 | 29 mins | Sweden.

an achingly realistic depiction of to thy ownself, being true.

Dave says:

Playing like the start of a feature, this is an excellent opening to the new collection of gay short films from the good folk at New Queer Visions. It focuses on the relationship between students Erik and Anthony; both straight to the world and yet equally forced to come to terms with their newfound sexuality after a night of off-screen alcohol-infused passion. Both have girlfriends and yet whilst Anthony accepts that he's no longer who he thought he was, Erik is clinging to his heterosexual façade, refusing to accept the calling of his heart. Only how much longer can he continue to ignore his homosexual voice? For that's the question that haunts this mini-feature styled short, as the raw emotions of to thy ownself, being true, are played out right before you. And it's those naked emotions that the title is indicative of, with Oscar Sperlich as Erik and Henrik Gustavsson as Anthony delivering achingly realistic turns, as two men not only coming out to themselves, but contemplating how to come out to those they hold close. Frankly, I wanted to see more, as this short co-written by Mattias Pollak alongside director Daniel Hagberg could easily be developed further, given the pairs' passionate kissing can only but leave you wondering if their friendship is more that of lovers?

›› available as part of THE MALE GAZE: FIRST KISS shorts compilation.
›› posted: Wednesday, 24th October, 2018.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

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