The Boys on Film series from Peccadillo Pictures has a reputation for showcasing top notch queer cinema that illuminates the gay experience from fresh and exciting perspectives.
Boys on Film 22: Love to Love continues that fine tradition with a collection of eight short films from around the world that shine a light on various facets of gay lifestyle and culture that will resonate with most, if not all, gay identifying individuals.
The following is a quick rundown of each film in the collection along with a brief synopsis which we previously presented when Love to Love first debuted on June 27 along with our impressions now having watched the films.
HAVE WE MET BEFORE? (UK, 12 mins) Dir. Oliver Mason
Synopsis: Prepare for a kitschy, kinky voyage via the homosexual gaze from the 1970’s to the present day. The internet may have changed the way gay men meet, but as always, some things never change.
Review: This film was a docu-style feature that had vignettes demonstrating the different types of cruising methods gay men employed from the Hanky Code in the 70’s all the way through to the modern age of the apps. This is a fun retrospective for queer men in our age group featuring narration and salacious stories from real men who employed each methodology.
THE ACT (UK, 18 mins) Dir. Thomas Hescott
Synopsis: It’s 1965, the eve of decriminalization for acts of male homosexuality in Britain. We meet Matthews, a young gay man at odds with the world and his own sexuality, as he discovers love, sex and a family in the back alleys of Soho.
Review: “The Act” is an earnest and heartfelt exposition of guilt, desire and yearning in the face of a menacing, homophobic society. Samuel Barnett gives a standout performance as Matthews and director Thomas Hescott reminds us once more the importance of authenticity and chosen family in this beautifully crafted period piece.
FIRST POSITION (USA, 20 mins) Dir. Michael Elias Thomas
Synopsis: In 1980’s San Francisco, aspiring dancer Zachary fights to keep his dream alive after falling ill. Meanwhile, a fleeting romance with fellow dancer Jamie provides brief respite.
Review: The film serves as an allegory for the tenacity of the human spirit and is interwoven with breathtakingly beautiful dance sequences performed by the lead actors. This film is intricately shot and relies heavily on ambiance to deliver an emotional gut punch.
WINTER (Mexico, 16 mins) Dir. Luis Pacheco, Rafael Ruiz Espejo
Synopsis: Out of the blue, cabaret performer Nico receives a call from their estranged father who is coming to visit them. Keeping their queer lifestyle under wraps, Nico soon realizes that they and their father are much closer than they previously thought.
Review: Thisfilm will resonate deeply with any gay person that has felt compelled to either hide who they are or dim their shine, from their father specifically. It resonates even more deeply, in my opinion, for Latinx viewers because of the ‘machismo’ aspect of our culture. This film is deceptively simple and an absolute standout featuring understated but layered performances from both lead actors.
THE SUIT WEARETH THE MAN (UK, 30 mins) Dir. Mitchell Marion
Synopsis: Maciej suppresses his sexual and cultural identities in order to climb the corporate ladder, struggling with the conflicting wishes of his conservative mother Marta and the orders of his handsome yet ruthless boss Christopher.
Review: Visually intriguing and provocative, this short film delivers on all levels. Trying to pursue a life that is his own, separate from his mother and modest beginnings, Maciej is at war with himself over his desires and ambitions. A compelling narrative that literally personifies desire, the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred as Maciej struggles to make his choice.
INFINITE WHILE IT LASTS (Brazil, 19 mins) Dir. Akira Kamiki
Synopsis: At a party, Danny and Seiji fall in love. While those around them think their relationship is doomed to fail, Danny believes the differences between them can prove stronger than their feelings.
Review: Although somewhat lacking in technical aspects, all is forgiven with this one due to the sheer fact that it goes somewhere few filmmakers have gone. I don’t want to give anything away, but this is fantastic representation for an underserved subsect of our community.
MELON GRAB (Australia, 10 mins) Dir. Andrew Lee
Synopsis: An uncertain future dawns upon two young best friends as one of them is moving away from their coastal hometown. Their way of dealing with it is skateboarding as the descending sun marks a new point in their lives.
Review: Far and away the most visually stunning of the group, this film features expert camerawork with stunning vistas and action sequences of the skateboarders. A story about dysfunctional truth, suspended youth and a different kind of love between young men.
THRIVE (UK, 17 mins) Dir. Jamie Dispirito
Synopsis: Joe and Alex enter into a mobile phone hook-up conversation that leads to a physical meet-up. The attraction between them is evident, but it quickly becomes apparent they’re looking for different things.
Review: Though somewhat predictable, the timeliness and poignancy of the message is not lost on viewers of “Thrive”. Erotically charged and set in one space, the second half of the film is dialogue driven with two solid performances from the lead actors.
Boys on Film 22: Love to Love is available on most VOD platforms in the UK including Amazon, Apple TV and Google Play. It is also available on Amazon USA, Amazon Germany and for the rest of the world at PecadilloPOD.com.
For those that prefer physical media, get your Boys On Film DVD or Blu-Ray copy here.