›› South of Heaven - Ten Zuiden van de Hemel ‹‹

a short film by Marco van Bergen.

2019 | 18 mins | Netherlands.

having to decide between the love of your family, or that of your boyfriend.

Dave says:

Once again the ugly face of homosexuality and religion raises its head in this emotional tale from writer and director Marco van Bergen.

It tells the touching story of gifted violinist Elias (Tom van Kessel) who returns home to celebrate his twenty-first birthday, alongside his devout mother Aaltje (Tine Joustra) and brother Mattheus (Milan Boele van Hensbroek). And all is well within their deeply religious household, until that is Elias' oboe playing boyfriend Jasper (Julian Moon Snijder) pays a surprise visit, only to discover that whilst out in Amsterdam and who isn't, Elias is decidedly in, in his hometown. For here the question is not so much how long can Elias keep the sexual truth from his mother, but more that of how long can he hold onto the man he loves, whilst playing it straight?

Achingly depicting the inner struggles of a young man forced to decide between the love of his family, or that of his boyfriend, this deeply poignant short and like many a work that has gone before it, showcases those who are all too keen to preach the word of God, only to show none of his love and compassion in return; even to their own family. To that end, Joustra is icy-cold in her portrayal of a mother who longs to embrace her son, provided he's straight; bigoted views that are starkly juxtaposed by a series of wondrous flashbacks that show the Snijder / van Kessel boys enjoying the sexual freedom of the capital, as lovers. And whilst perhaps too soapy for its own good, this telling work is nonetheless delivered with an abundance of TLC from a director who clearly has a heartfelt message to make. And make it, he certainly does. Say no more.

›› available as part of the NEW QUEER VISIONS shorts compilation - THE DUTCH BOYS.
›› posted: Monday, 19th July, 2021.

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

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