›› The French Boys 1 short films compilation ‹‹

From the good folk at New Queer Visions comes the first in a series of gay short film compilations from a country famous the world over
as the birthplace of cinema, Impressionism and the humble pain au chocolat. C'est magnifique!

›› Overall Duration - 100 mins | VOD Release Date - 6th December, 2021 ‹‹

›› posted: Thursday, 27th January, 2022 ‹‹

›› So long, Paris! ‹‹

a short film by Charles Dudoignon-Valade.

2020 | 18 mins | France.

a highly original take on coming out - to your daughter!

Dave says:

From writer and director Charles Dudoignon-Valade comes this highly original take on coming out - to your daughter!

Not that Lucy (Lucy Pouchoulin) is your typical pre-teenager; delighting in telling lies to strangers about her parents' alleged demise, whilst not averse to climbing rooftops as agile as a cat, this is a young girl whose rebellious approach to life is aptly reflected in the clothes she wears. Yet behind her mischievous smile is a child who refuses to accept her parents' divorce, determined to somehow see one and all reunited, as one big happy family. Only that's not going to happen, given her father Paul (Arthur Igual) is now more than happy in the loving arms of another man (Gaël Kamilindi). Trouble is, everyone appears to know that he has a boyfriend, apart from Lucy herself. Forever putting off telling her the truth, something has to give and give it certainly does, when her father's lover comes calling!

Frankly, there's a lot to like in this highly engaging short film that poignantly plays the coming out scenario from the father's perspective. Only and as wonderfully natural as Igual is in a role that finds him ever fearful of losing the devotion of the daughter he clearly loves, should her reaction to his homosexuality be of the negative kind, it's Pouchoulin who by no surprise steals the show, here playing Lucy in an almost androgynous style, along the way showcasing a multitude of emotions as a young girl furious not at her father's newfound sexuality; rather of being the last to know about it.

Beautifully played throughout and complete, as you would expect, with a series of lush picture postcard views of Paris by day and night, including many of its famous landmarks, this is a work that above all tells its bittersweet tale in an achingly realistic fashion, with Lucy having exited stage left upon having discovered the truth, walking the near deserted streets of Paris alone in a bid to finally come to terms with the reality of her parents' divorce, with her father seemingly always two steps behind in his desperate search for her. That all's well that ends well goes without saying, in a work that is but a pure delight.

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

›› Freed - Baltringue ‹‹

a short film by Josza Anjembe.

2019 | 21 mins | France.

a hard-hitting drama about life behind bars.

Dave says:

From writer and director Josza Anjembe comes this hard-hitting drama about life behind bars.

For this is the story of Issa (Alassane Diong); namely a young man serving the last days of his sentence in an open prison. Keeping to himself and in particular that of his homosexuality, even if it's common knowledge to all around him and in particular top dog Jordan (Emile Fofana), Issa's pretence at playing it straight is about to tested to breaking point when new inmate Gaëtan (Yoann Zimmer) catches his eye. Sensing an immediate connection between them and yet knowing that he's about to be released, can Issa keep his emotions under control long enough to be freed, or will his desire to be with Gaëtan outweigh his longing for freedom?

Well-played throughout and complete with the seemingly requisite prison shower scene; albeit here played remarkably coy, this short film frankly has a lot going for it and in particular lead actor Diong, who excels as a man determined to suppress his true sexuality for the sake of social conformity and in turn, perhaps the love of his bigoted mother.

That this biting short film has been delivered by a director not afraid to place the spotlight on same-sex love behind locked doors and therein institutionalized homophobia, goes without saying. Yet for all of its positives, the ending may well leave some questioning the narrative, in a work that whilst Diong is clearly its shining star, equally features Fofana in a role that cannot help but make you wonder if his hetero character, does protest too much. Say no more.

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

›› Vincent Before Noon - Vincent Avant Midi ‹‹

a short film by Guillaume Mainguet.

2019 | 18 mins | France.

the estranged relationship between a father and son.

Dave says:

From co-writer and director Guillaume Mainguet comes this bittersweet tale of the estranged relationship between a father and son.

For Vincent (Mathias Labelle) is that son and a man who with mounting arrears, has been forced to accept a job, alongside his boyfriend Daniel, that takes the two away from the city they love so much. Busy packing his belongings after a leaving party the night before, the last thing that he's in need of is a surprise visit from his alienated father (Jacques Bonnaffé), who turns up unexpected and downright unwelcome on his doorstep. Blaming his father for walking out on the family and leaving him to care for his mother all those years ago, Vincent's cold as ice reception to his father, is at odds with a man wanting to see his son again and somehow make up for mistakes of the past. Only what is his true motive for turning up out of the blue; that is, if he has one?

Like many a French drama, this two-man play as co-written by Yona Rozenkier, tugs at your heartstrings by achingly depicting the seemingly unrequited love between those who should be only too pleased to see each other. Yet here that's not the case, with Vincent emotionally cold to his father as a bitter winter morning, even when it becomes apparent the reason for his father's heartfelt desire to see his son. Only and unlike many a feature in which the bigoted views of a parent on their son's sexuality dominate the narrative, this work is refreshingly devoid of that. Indeed, with Vincent's flat as openly gay as they come, his father doesn't even bat an eyelid on such overt gayness, being happy to have been proved wrong that Vincent's relationship with Daniel has stood the test of time.

Then again, this is an ailing man with other things on his mind; or rather, a mind with other thing's going on within it. All of which makes for a poignant piece on making amends with those you love, before time, ill health, or both take the opportunity away from you. Sombre viewing goes without saying, but it's beautifully played nonetheless.

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

›› Sunset Cemetery - Extérieur Crépuscule ‹‹

a short film by Roman Kané.

2020 | 22 mins | France.

an emotional exploration on seizing the day.

Dave says:

From writer and director Roman Kané comes this emotional exploration on seizing the day. Or and as they say in Latin - carpe diem.

Not that star of the show Joseph (Quentin Dolmaire) knows that yet; namely a young man still coming to terms with the true calling of his heart, even if the nature of his sexuality is all but obvious to his big brother Martin (Julien Gaspar-Oliveri). As too, it becomes apparent to the man himself, when he later chances upon Léo (Théo Augier); an all-round cutie who's set to leave for Argentina in a few days, or so. Yet and as Joseph's best friend Nelly (Lou Chrétien-Février) knows, that still leaves plenty of time for the two to get to know each other intimately well. Only will Joseph seize the day?

Set in two different time frames; namely before and after his brother's untimely passing, this is a work that poignantly juxtaposes two different views of life; from an ailing brother seizing every moment of the precious time he has left, to that of a man whose fixation on missing life, is literally making him miss the opportunities that life presents itself.

Well-played throughout and complete with many a neat touch, including a somewhat surreal close-of-play, frankly this work has a lot going for it, even if it's shot way too dark in places. But that said, the message here is what counts; that of making the most of your life, whatever your circumstances be. For in the end, the life we choose to live is determined by how we choose to spend each day. And in an ideal world, that would be doing the things and being with the people, we love. Albeit at times; that's easier said, than done. Say no more.

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

›› Beauty Boys ‹‹

a short film by Florent Gouëlou.

2020 | 18 mins | France.

the relationship between two brothers of differing masculinity.

Dave says:

There's something wonderfully refreshing about this short film from writer and director Florent Gouëlou; aka the divine Javel Habibi. Then again, how could it not be when it follows the lives of two brothers of differing sexuality and aspirations, who enter the same talent contest.

For here we find seventeen-year-old Léo (Simon Royer) going against his brother Jules (Marvin Dubart) wishes, being intent on entering the local small town talent contest - in full drag! Knowing the repercussions that such will have in such a close-knit community, Jules' attempts to persuade his brother not to drag up, are seemingly all in vain. Only on the night itself, will Jules stand side by side with the homophobic views of his best friend François (Hugues Delamarliere), or be proud to have a drink with the girls!

Whilst the celluloid imagery of this lush short film is naturally overflowing with all of the glitz 'n' glam of its drag stars, at heart however this is the touching tale of the relationship between two brothers of differing masculinity. To that end, Dubart excels as the macho big brother of the piece; into boxing, as much as he's into rap music, being clearly straight from the onset. Yet his identity is beautifully juxtaposed by Royer's touching portrait of a young man determined to show the world his glamorous alter ego, given he knows, as too does every drag artiste and to paraphrase the words of the great Dolly herself, that - it takes a lot of time to look this chic!

Set to the score of the drag classic Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels and complete with Romain Eck in the scene-stealing role of drag queen extraordinaire Cookie, frankly this vibrant work has a lot going for it; from its OTT make-up and wigs and here Royer is wondrous in high heels, right down to Dubart's sensitive portrayal of a man desperately trying to come to terms with his brother's liking for all things drag. For like the French short Through the Fields, here the heart-warming narrative shines its spotlight on the close bond between two brothers who and in spite of their clear differences, are there for each other when it counts. Simply fab-u-lous!

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

›› copyright © 2022 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com ‹‹
›› archive reference #TheFrenchBoys01 ‹‹
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