›› The French Boys 4 short films compilation ‹‹

Having begun with a series of poignant mini-dramas, this series of gay French short films from the good folk at New Queer Visions draws to a close,
or perhaps not?, with more French shorts that what you can shake your baguette at! So sit down with some cheese 'n' wine
and enjoy these French boys doing what comes naturally. C'est magnifique!

›› Overall Duration - 92 mins | VOD Release Date - 7th March, 2022 ‹‹

›› posted: Saturday, 30th April, 2022 ‹‹

›› Discreet - Scred ‹‹

a short film by David Chausse and Simon Frenay.

2017 | 6 mins | France.

a joyous mix of macho heterosexuality and gay curiosity.

Dave says:

Short and straight to the narrative point, this engaging work from joint writers, directors and stars of the show David Chausse and Simon Frenay charts the sexual rivalry that develops between two friends who haven't seen each other for awhile, but who chance upon each other in town. Immediately striking up a conversation, one is soon to boast of how he get-it-on with a local girl last night; a claim that the other doesn't believe for a minute, resulting with an acting class in the art of the chat-up line. Only just how far will they take their roles?

Played wonderfully natural from the Chausse / Frenay boys and indeed played for the main part - straight, this all but over before you know it work is a joyous mix of macho heterosexuality and gay curiosity. For these two men are proudly straight to the core, that is until they plant their manly lips on each other. Not that this is a spoiler, given this simple, yet highly entertaining scenario is but a variant of the falling in love with your straight best friend theme. It's one that could so easily be expanded upon, as come close-of-play and as the two men fall back on their hetero exteriors, you're left wondering if their friendship could have been taken to a more meaningful level? C'est la vie, as the French do say.

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

›› Distinguished Feelings - Sentiments Distingués ‹‹

a short film by Keren Marciano.

2019 | 11 mins | France | colour / bw.

a hilarious take on the classic L'amour Fou scenario.

Dave says:

From writer Michaël Delmar and director Keren Marciano comes this hilarious take on the classic L'amour Fou scenario.

For Elena (Blanca Li) and Arturo (Thierry Harcourt) have been together for years; seemingly the perfect loving couple. But when Elena's best friend Philippe (Fred Bianconi) texts her that Arturo doesn't love her any more and that she would be better off dumping him, before he dumps her, Elena hatches a plan to get even. Thinking that it would be less of a humiliation for her to be cast aside for a man, rather for another women, Elena enlists the help of Bastien (Arnaud Gagnoud); a young actor to seduce Arturo for all the world to see. Only when Arturo starts to embrace the beauty of the sexual rainbow, is her plan really foolproof?

Part musical, part comedy and deliciously OTT including the campiest end credits seen in a gay short for ages, this joyous work is a pure delight from start to finish, thanks to the sparkling turns from the entire cast and in particular Blanca Li who excels as a woman who realizes all too late the error of her ways, as Bastien proudly declares that - Arturo's not meant for you.

Played in front of a green screen for many a scene to surreal effect and complete with the telling line "go where your heart takes you", this is but eleven minutes worth of pure joy, the very antithesis of all too many doom 'n' gloom narratives of late, as the two men rejoice in their love for each other, with Arturo being ever grateful to Elena for having shown him - his gay side. Simply wondrous.

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

›› Rue des Roses ‹‹

a short film by Patrick Fabre.

2012 | 15 mins | France.

the reality of a child caught between parents of differing sexualities.

Dave says:

The ties of family form the cornerstone of this delightful work from writer Hieu Cat and co-writer and director Patrick Fabre.

For this is a story that revolves around Father's Day, when a nervous Mehdi (Philippe Bas) awaits the arrival of his ten-year-old daughter Alison (Manon Perrain); alongside his boyfriend Axel (Fabien Ducommun). Anxious, to put it mildly, of how Alison may or may not take to the man in her father's life, the time arrives and a reception from Alison that whilst not one of rejection, is however hardly one of outright acceptance. Exchanging presents, including the seemingly requisite Father's Day tie and some photos for the family album of the old instamatic kind, Alison is all too keen to leave and return to her mother's home cooking. Yet that was five years ago and as another Father's Day approaches, has the more mature Alison (Chloé Charrier) grown to appreciate the sexual diversity of family life?

In short, this is a work that shines the spotlight on the reality of a child caught between parents of differing sexualities. Beautifully played throughout and complete with an ending that comes full circle, frankly, there's a lot to like here, including a series of neat touches that add to the story in a tender, yet poignant fashion.

That said, there's equally no denying that this is a story that in places is crying out for more meat on its narrative bone; in particular the specifics as to the parental separation remain undefined, leaving you to question if such was on account of Mehdi embracing his gay side, or finding love in the arms of Axel, whilst still married? Whatever way, both Bas and Ducommun are wonderfully natural as the loving couple of the piece, even if the star of the show is Charrier, as the character of Alison finally comes into her own in the closing reel. A pure delight.

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

›› First Love - Premier Amour ‹‹

a short film by Florent Gouëlou.

2020 | 11 mins | France.

a poignant piece on male relationships.

Dave says:

From writer and director Florent Gouëlou of the wonderfully refreshing short film Beauty Boys comes this equally poignant piece on male relationships.

For this is the continuing story of drag queen extraordinaire Cookie Kunty (Romain Eck); namely an artist whose devotion to her craft has seen her relationship with boyfriend Baptiste (Andrea Romano) all but reduced to that of a business arrangement. Seemingly spending more time seeing to her wigs, than with the love of his life, as the Queen of the Night takes to the Parisian stage for yet another performance, Baptiste is left to decide if this could be the last show he'll be watching?

In short, this touching work plays with the definition of one's first love; namely whether that be the first person you fell in love with, or that interest in your life that will always come above everything else; even love itself. It's a neat concept that's sadly all but over before you know it. Eck is however always a delight to see, with the expressive eye movements between the two lovers saying almost as much, as the narrative itself. Frankly, you want to see more; in particular come close-of-play. But alas, this is all too short - a short. Beautifully played, nonetheless.

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

›› The Edge - 4 Fromages ‹‹

a short film by David Chausse.

2019 | 18 mins | France.

a telling tale about life and friendship.

Dave says:

From writer and director of David Chausse of Discreet fame comes another two-man styled short film that and as ever, is overflowing with emotion.

For this is the story of openly gay dancer Jules (Yuming Hey) who yearns to take to the stage, but instead finds himself tending bars to pay the rent. Escaping into the world of dance, he practices his craft on a rooftop in private, that is until a lost pizza delivery man by the name of Malik (Aïmen Derriachi) comes charging into his life, along the way inadvertently shutting the rooftop door that can only be opened from the inside. Now trapped on the top of an apartment building awaiting Jules' boyfriend to free them, the tension between the two mounts as the minutes turn into hours, driving each other ever closer to the edge.

Once again, here we find Chausse putting opposites together to striking effect and no more so than in the case of outright homophobia, as juxtaposed with the out 'n' proud views of a man who could not be straight, even if he tried. Yet below the surface both men have a lot in common; working mundane jobs for a-living, whilst having aspirations for something far greater in life. To that end, both Derriachi and Hey excel in their opposing roles, in the process delivering the full spectrum of emotions; from anger to compassion and from hatred to love and acceptance.

It's a telling tale about life and friendship that finds both men initially uncaring about the other, only to gradually reveal their empathetic side to the point that and come close-of-play, you kind of get the feeling that this rooftop could become their special place to meet up, as strangers become friends. Highly engaging, even if the original quattro formaggi title does not do this well-played work justice. Say no more.

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

›› Without Transition - Sans Transition ‹‹

a short film by Paul Granier.

2021 | 13 mins | France.

a gentle tale of love without transition.

Dave says:

From writer, director and star of the show Paul Granier comes this gentle tale of love without transition.

It begins with shy and somewhat self-effacing Leo (Granier) making out with his girlfriend. Only that was times that were, as cut to the present Leo is single and leading a solitary existence. That is until he chances upon Thom (Harrison Arevalo); an Uruguayan photographer and the total opposite of Leo in every way. Outgoing, jovial and clearly gay, the two men quickly strike up a friendship that can only lead in one direction.

There's some quite tender moments to this telling work, as Granier showcases the story of a man who's all too hesitant to use his real name at first and yet is well aware as to where his burgeoning friendship with Thom is heading, being sexually to the core, whilst never explicit.

Played wonderfully natural by the pair throughout, this two-man play shines the spotlight not only on moving from one relationship to another, but moreover of exchanging heterosexuality for homosexuality. That this work reflects on such in an understated style, is to its credit, even if I dare say others may feel that the narrative could have done with a bit more va-va-voom, leaving as it does the issue of whether it's this easy for a supposedly straight man to jump sexual ships in the middle of the night, somewhat blowing in the wind. C'est la vie.

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

›› Fragile - Babtou Fragile ‹‹

a short film by Hakim Mao.

2020 | 20 mins | France.

a highly engaging work on how life can be more interesting when you spice it up.

Dave says:

From writer and director Hakim Mao comes this gay to the core work that poses the question of: just how far are you prepared to go for the man you love?

For cutie Mehdi (Youssouf Abi-Ayad of The Pier Man fame) hasn't had sex for months; well eight months to be precise, much to the concern of his best friend Olive (Daphné Huynh) who's sick of Mehdi playing it all too safe in life and love. Challenging him to unleash his wild side, Mehdi is soon to be found surfing the internet where he chances upon Félix (Pierre Emö). As the two men arrange to meet in person, is hopeless romantic Mehdi prepared for an encounter with a man who has only one thing on his mind?

In many ways this work plays on stereotypes, given here Félix is a man with a preference for sex with men of Arabic background, only to find Mehdi all too 'white' for his liking. Not that this stops the two from getting down to some serious man-sex, even if it leaves Mehdi questioning his identity thereafter and moreover of just how far is a good boy prepared to go, to be with the bad boy of his desires. And if this sounds familiar, then cue a gay take on the closing reel of the film classic Grease, with Mehdi determined to get the man that he wants - whatever it takes! Only this is far from the nostalgic fun of the hit musical, as here Mao offers a far more sexually explicit variant.

That said, the cast of three excel in their differing roles, with Abi-Ayad perfect as the sexually reserved counterbalance to Emö's persona of a man who likes his sex delivered porno fashion. All of which makes for a highly engaging work on how life can be more interesting when you spice it up. Ooh-la-la!

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - sexually explicit imagery | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

›› copyright © 2022 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com ‹‹
›› archive reference #TheFrenchBoys04 ‹‹
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