›› Summer Storm - Sommersturm ‹‹

a film by Marco Kreuzpaintner.

2004 | 98 mins | Germany.

a captivating variant on the theme of coming out.

Dave says:

Guaranteed to please in a big way, this joyous film from co-writer and director Marco Kreuzpaintner is as bright 'n' breezy, as summer itself.

For here cue the lives of best friends Tobi (Robert Stadlober) and Achim (Kostja Ullmann); so close to each other that they jump at the chance to spend some extra time together as cox and oarsman of their local rowing team, when the team leaves for summer camp for the national junior competition. Yet equally training alongside them is Achim's girlfriend Sandra (Miriam Morgenstern), whose best friend Anke (Alicja Bachleda) just happens to have the hots for Tobi. And therein lies the problem. For whilst Achim is more than happy to get up close and personal with Sandra, Tobi just doesn't feel the same way about Anke. Indeed if anything, he wishes her lips were those of his best friend ... but surely that doesn't mean he's gay? Thankfully camping it onto the riverside to give advice and a lot more besides, is the rival QUEERSTROKE rowing team; that of a bunch of openly gay boys who Tobi feels increasingly drawn to. And as sure as night follows day, it isn't long before a sunburnt back gives way to more than just a spot of manly massage, forcing Tobi to finally question his sexuality and the realization that his feelings for Achim have gone way past those of mere friendship.

Beautifully filmed, with the lush cinematography of the German countryside seamlessly intercut with lingering camera shots of the male physique in all of its athletic glory, this captivating variant on the theme of coming out is in many ways a hybrid of the features Forgive & Forget and the now classic Beautiful Thing, given that it relates the "love for your best friend" scenario of the former, mixed with the gradual awareness of one's sexuality being "different to those around you" of the latter.

Yet this work is not based on fiction. Rather this is, in part, an autobiographical piece, inspired by a director who fell in love with his own best friend. Only here Kreuzpaintner does not preach at you, preferring instead to bring to the fore the serious issue of homophobia, by way of the boys from the straight side of town being made to confront their fears and prejudice when one of their own turns out to bat, or should that be row, for the other team.

Enhanced by an energetic young cast who naturally covey the raw emotions of teenagers desperate to assert their sexuality - whatever form that may take, the result is a pure feel-good crowd-pleaser, laced as it is with a series of perfectly timed comic turns, let alone a homoerotic, yet ever so tender lovemaking sequence. Light but serious, funny yet passionate, this marks a totally upbeat approach to the perennial theme of being true to thyself, being in three words - an absolute delight. Say no more.

›› check out the Official Trailer on YouTube.
›› revised: Wednesday, 17th February, 2021.

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

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