›› THE FRENCH BOYS 3 short films compilation ‹‹

Hot on the heels of The French Boys 2 short films compilation comes this third helping of French delights from the good folk at New Queer Visions
that this time around focuses on sexual identity, if not confronting your desires and the very consequences of one's sexual actions.

›› Overall Duration - 96 mins | VOD Release Date - 10th February, 2022 ‹‹

›› posted: Wednesday, 30th March, 2022 ‹‹

›› Fairyocious - Féeroce ‹‹

a short film by Fabien Ara.

2019 | 13 mins | France.

a thought-provoking work on sexual identity.

Dave says:

What's a mother to do when her eight-year-old son tells her that he wants to go to school, dressed as a fairy. Oh, la-la!

For that's the scenario of this beautifully played short film from writer and director Fabien Ara. It's a dilemma that Mother Alma (Capucine Lespinas) doesn't know how to react to at first, seeking advice from her close circle of friends, only to find herself surrounded by their diverse, frequently bigoted and increasingly alarming ideas on 'how to cure' her son.

In short, this thought-provoking work has a lot to say on sexual identity, not least when viewed through the eyes of a child who cannot see what all the fuss is about. Yet whilst Ange-Nicolas Castellotti is wonderfully natural in the role of Simon; namely the young boy who wants to be a girl, it's Lespinas who by no surprise steals the show, as the devoted mother who simply wants the best for her child; whatever their sexuality be. That it comes complete with a neat twist in the closing act is to Ara's credit, only in doing so you're left wondering if those final frames are but a fairy tale in itself? Simply wondrous.

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

›› The Graffiti - Le Graffiti ‹‹

a short film by Aurélien Laplace.

2019 | 10 mins | France.

a hilarious take on 'the biter - bit' scenario.

Dave says:

From writer and director Aurélien Laplace comes this hilarious take on 'the biter - bit' scenario.

For here we find Leplace tell the tale of the mayor (Christian Bujeau) of a small French town who's shocked to discover that the outside building of the church has been sprayed with graffiti that implies a homosexual act on his part, with the town doctor (François Berland). Considered to be a historical monument, there appears to be nothing that he can do to remove such words until the Church authorities convene to give their approval to do so, apart that is from turning to the doctor for his support and a joint statement denouncing such a slur on their nature. Only to find that the doctor in citing freedom of expression and having clearly had enough of the mayor's claptrap, will have nothing to do with the insinuation. Or will he?

Complete with a series of wonderfully OTT expressions from the the increasingly farcical double act of Berland and Bujeau, this short is all but over before you know it and that's a shame for this lively French farce is refreshingly different from so many repetitive themes of gay cinema. For here Laplace uses every comical trick in the book, including the score, to poke fun at the 'what's good for the goose is good for the gander' narrative, in the course turning the situation on its head - no pun intended! A pure delight.

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

›› Eva ‹‹

a short film by Florent Médina.

2016 | 10 mins | France.

a vibrant cinematic dissertation on confronting your sexual desires.

Dave says:

Cutting straight to the love-making chase, this compelling work from writer and director Florent Médina is but a vibrant cinematic dissertation on confronting your sexual desires.

For shy, but lovable Gabriel (Eddy Wonka) is determined to prove his heterosexuality, or perhaps not, by hiring the services of lady of the night Eva (Emanuele Arioli). Only in doing so, is he about to discover more about himself than what he wanted to know?

This is one of those short films that to say more, would give the game away. Suffice to add that it's beautifully played, with Wonka - yes, that really is a surname, every inch the young man experimenting with his sexuality, seemingly unable to 'get it on' the way he thought and yet more than comfortable in the company of Eva; a kind-hearted prostitute only too happy to answer Gabriel's many questions. Yet as natural as Wonka is in his role, it's Arioli who shines throughout, in a work that frankly ends all too soon, leaving you wanting to see more, given and as sure as night follows day, the two would meet again. Say no more.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - the full monty | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

›› A New Breath - aka: Second Souffle ‹‹

a short film by Nina Parent.

2021 | 27 mins | France.

a voyeuristic take on the coming out experience.

Dave says:

From writer and director Nina Parent comes this engrossing work on sexual acceptance and the power of dance.

For welcome to the world of Gabriel (Victorien Bonnet); a seventeen-year-old teenager whose life has all but fallen apart following the death of his elder brother. Picking up the pieces of what was, he spends his days between bickering with his younger sister Camille (Orane Braujou), to thinking of ways to break his mother (Stéphanie Marc) out of her slide into depression. Only Gabriel has another interest. For using a camera that once belonged to his brother, he takes delight in filming other people's private lives, as if to make up for the void in his. That is until he chances upon handsome dancer Jules (Golan Yosef) who not only confronts him about his voyeuristic acts, but turns the tables on him by asking Gabriel to film him while he dances on the beach. As the thin line between director and subject becomes ever more blurred, will Gabriel emerge from his first love for better or for worse?

Beautifully shot and staged, here Parent delivers what in many ways is akin to a two-man play, given the relationship between the two men is the foundation stone of this work. It's one where you're never quite sure where the narrative is going, as close-ups of eye movements and sensuous scenes of male bonding, are intercut with artistically choreographed dance routines, as the two come to experience the intimacy of dance and same-sex love.

That Yosef delivers the male model looks and dance steps of the piece, goes without saying and yet it's Bonnet who shines as the troubled teen clearly coming to terms with his sexuality, via the medium of film. All of which makes for a voyeuristic take on the coming out experience, even if the camera was facing another direction when Gabriel finally embraced his gay side. Need more be said?

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

›› Masculine ‹‹

a short film by Zoé Chadeau.

2018 | 19 mins | France.

a tender take on the 'opposites attract' scenario.

Dave says:

In this wondrous short film, writer Maxime Lavalle, alongside director Zoé Chadeau set out to show that love can indeed be found in the most unlikely of places.

For bearded Arthus (Arthur Leparc) is every inch the gay guy who looks straight, a persona that he's perfected to the point that he cannot figure out why he's ended up in bed with Marin (Harald Marlot); namely a drag queen who goes by the stage name of Miss Agathe Pettibone and who cannot be anything but her fabulous gay self. Awakening in the early hours by accident or by design, Arthus is only too keen to put the sexual delights of the night before, behind him and make a quick exit. Only for Marin to have other ideas; offering him not only an early morning coffee, but a tour of her apartment during which the two come to discover that they have more in common with each other, than what at first appeared.

No surprise for guessing that this, at heart, is but a tender take on the 'opposites attract' scenario and it's beautifully played throughout, with both Leparc and Marlot splendid in their differing roles, that here include an exclusive performance from Miss Pettibone herself.

Then again, there's a lot to like here, courtesy of a narrative that raises the issue of sexual identity and in particular on what is deemed as the masculine / feminine traits of life and moreover, the sexual pigeonholes that society likes to place you in. And here cue the Amnon Buchbinder film Whole New Thing and the telling line: who says you have to choose? Simply delightful.

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

›› The Tightrope Walkers - Les Équilibristes ‹‹

a short film by Gilles Tillet.

2017 | 18 mins | France.

a well-observed short about the consequences of one's sexual actions.

Dave says:

Directed by Gilles Tillet and co-written with David Lambert of Beyond the Walls fame, this well-observed short is all about the consequences of one's sexual actions.

And it all began for Vincent (Solal Forte of Falling credit) when in spending his days with his friends checking out the local hunks surfing the waves, he catches sight of Jean-Christophe (Manuel Blanc); an older man who he goes out of his way to accidentally 'bump into' on the beach. Sensing an immediate attraction between them, Vincent makes it clear what he wants for the night and put it this way, it isn't coffee. As the two men get intimate with each other, the morning after brings with it a revelation that Vincent did not expect; nor wanted to hear.

In short, this is a work that by no surprise charts the territory of unprotected sex and in this case, sex with a man who is all too aware of the reality of AIDS. Well-played throughout, Forte is every inch the young man horror-struck at the possibility of being given an HIV positive diagnosis, stumbling his way through the day, seemingly too embarrassed to even admit how he came to be in such a situation. Yet the star of the show is Blanc, delivering a beautifully laid-back approach to the predicament that Vincent finds himself in, having been there and got the T-shirt. Compassionate and supportive throughout, to the point of being akin to a father figure to Vincent, this is a film that works its magic, ending with just a hint that their one-night stand could be the start of something far more meaningful.

Only given the sans condom tightrope that the two men have walked, the short is remarkably coy when it comes to depicting the bare basics of their sexual encounter, with the act itself notably off-screen. But then, this was a work designed to shine the spotlight on the consequences of unprotected sex and not the act itself, and it does so in a charming and frankly highly engaging way, delivering a message that is as relevant today, as it was back in the '80s. Enough said.

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

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