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Spooners

August 12, 2018

In this hilarious, inventive and pleasingly whimsical comedy, a gay couple s ridiculous quest for a comfortable mattress transforms into a journey of acceptance and public openness with their sexuality.

Spooners throws Nelson, the reticent half of a gay couple against the prejudices he imagines, fully committing to an absurdist mattress showroom where a machine loudly announces his spooning preferences to the entire customer base, who all crowd keenly around. Writer-director Bryan Horch cleverly counters both Nelson’s rather unfounded fears and the stereotypical ideas about homosexuality from the cultural cross-section of observers.

Other shorts on Boys On Film 11: We Are Animals

We Are Animals’ is the bold proclamation of Peccadillo Pictures’ collection of gay-focused short films. It’s taken from the title of the opening short, but the collection as a whole explores the more animalistic side of humanity, from the observational plains of a burger bar to the isolated mating rituals of its nightlife. Sound and landscape play an integral part in the shifting lives of the characters we follow in a strong variety of films.

This diverse and daring compilation tells stories ranging from the whimsical, heart-rendering and poignant to the unflinchingly bold and provocative. Latent ambitions are vibrantly brought to life in a remote part of Alaska, a forbidden lust is explored in Denmark, a friendship is tested to dangerous limits and a devoted father is faced with his teenage son s budding sexuality.

Overall, Boys on Film 11: We Are Animals is a lively and dynamic collection that ruminates on a wide range of sexual, emotional and political issues circulating homosexuality. Like the best of these collections, it swerves between feeling timely and timeless, relevant and nostalgic and pensive. If it’s strangely lacking on physical animalism, watch out for the claws, springing from unexpected places within this powerful collection.

Alaska is a Drag – dir. Shaz Bennett (USA) 14mins
The unique Leo stands out from the crowd. This isn’t ideal when working in a small fish cannery in Alaska (was this inspired by Mack Friedman’s short story?) . His dreams of leaving this small town appear impossible, until a new boy joins and sees Leo for the superstar he was destined to be.

It skirts narrative for a deeper focus on character, ultimately surprising with the warmth in instills in such a brief time. Leo dreams of a fabulous life, but he’s stuck in Alaska, his headscarf gaining jeers from his co-workers in a fish warehouse, an environment amounting to little more than a clichéd high school playground. When handsome newcomer Declan defends Leo, a friendship blossoms. Writer-director Shaz Bennett never takes their connection into the sexual or romantic, instead making a more inclusive, generous story sing through simplicity

Little Man- dir. Eldar Rapaport (UK/Israel) 24mins

Facing thirty, Elliott realises he has jeopardised every relationship that has come his way. The weekend his brother shows up on his doorstep and a bizarre neighbour begins spying on him; Elliott is driven to the edge in this uneasy psychological tale of obsession. Directed by the winner of the 2011 Iris Prize, Eldar Rapaport, who has since gone on to direct feature films, including the beautiful August.

an emotionally complex performance throughout, along the way getting down to some tasteful man-on-man action, in a work that has Rapaport’s seal of quality stamped all over it.

the story of a man who forever lets love slip through his fingers, being unable or perhaps unwilling to hold onto the men who enter his life. Apart that is from his fraternal relationship with his brother, now turned uninvited lodger following a breakup with his wife. Chatting the night away, the recurring theme of this work is soon to emerge, namely the perception that gay men “have it easier” in finding sex; finding love. It’s a theme that’s set to explode in Elliot’s heated exchanges with a taxi driver who assumes that all gay men “pull someone different, every night”. Yet unbeknown to Elliot, he already has a secret admirer; a mysterious stranger ever making noises in the room above his, that is until Elliot knocks on his door with alarming consequences.

Produced in collaboration with the celebrated IRIS Prize International Film Festival and based on the short story Your Man by Etgar Keret, this is, in essence, the story of the inner demons that for one man, incessantly prevent him from forming a long lasting relationship. Brilliantly produced throughout and complete with an atmospheric Schubert driven score, in many ways this twist-in-the-tale styled work reminds me of the Oscar Wilde classic The Picture of Dorian Gray; not that there’s a painting in the attic, rather … well, that would be saying. What can be added is the obvious, given here we find Rapaport delighting in a narrative that from its sensual beginning, turns increasingly surreal, let alone violent, as the psychological thriller element of the story comes into play. But it’s an offbeat tale that rapidly draws you in, making for yet another assured piece of filmmaking, from Rapaport but but the heaviness of his attempt to make violence symphonic makes these heightened sequences clash with the more observational pondering of the short’s beginning. The content defaults to generic ideas about the stereotypical view of gay men ‘having it easy’ and luxuriating in promiscuity. It’s a disappointingly simplistic little piece.

For Dorian- dir. Rodrigo Barriuso (Canada) 16mins

For Dorian deals with a sensitive and vastly under-represented issue: the sexual awakening of teenagers with disabilities. Told from the moving perspective of a devoted father of a boy with Down Syndrome, it challenges the ways in which the disabled are frequently asexualised.

Despite the progress that contemporary society has made in regards to the way we treat those less able, there is still a tendency to asexualise people with visible disabilities. However, human relationships escape the limits of our physical and mental capacities: the need for interaction is inextricably linked to our need for self-expression. For Dorian will attempt to expose the misconceptions that exist around the sexual and romantic life of people with visible disabilities. Although the focus of For Dorian is particular and specific, the themes speak to universal experiences: the need to let go even when our instinct tells us otherwise; the experience of adolescence; the intuitive need for independence; and the dynamics of family relationships

Devoted father Oliver observes as his son Dorian, who has Downs Syndrome, has his sexual awakening – a rite of passage that is so often avoided in depictions of disabled people. It skirts a dour, melancholy mood for an alert, tender one, as father discovers son masturbating and watches the blunt, friendly affection between him and best friend Marco. Writer-director Rodrigo Barriuso binds average teenage and parental issues into a rare character dynamic, presenting it with a simple humanism that allows an unfamiliar experience to settle in quickly.

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From → Film, Sexuality

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