on 21 November 2011
Harvest is one of the most original and beautiful gay romances I have ever seen. The slow burning film follows the growing attraction between two 'straight' male farmhands. What starts as a tentative friendship turns into something achingly real. The film has such a natural and authentic sensibility that, at times, it almost feels as if you are watching a documentary. The performances are affecting, to say the least, and the actors have a genuine chemistry which shines throughout.
Another Gay Movie this ain't but if you're looking for a coming-of-age story with a difference this is for you!
I loved this film and watched it twice in succession. It is very refreshing to see a film on a gay subject that does not announce this almost straight off; here, the way the farm works and the life of the interns is shown at a slow enough pace for you really to get a sense of the place and how these young people might feel. The editing doesn't cut short discussions with their supervisor or trips out on to the field to put tags on calves, for instance. This means that when feelings between two of the young men do become apparent to themselves and to us, the whole thing feels very organic, and the romance is all the more tender for the tentative way it develops. You are very aware of this being a rural film, but it is full of very real human situations of many types - personally I liked the way so much is told in small gestures and glances. If you like action films and a fast-moving urban narrative then you won't find it here, but the characters are very natural and not at all ingratiating, and their foray into sexual feeling has remained with me days after seeing it.
on 2 April 2012
The film follows two farming apprentices; the troubled, semi-literate Marko, and the more extrovert Jacob, who's packed in a job at a bank for a more ascetic existence.
Their undeniable attraction to each other begins to manifest in fleeting, awkward encounters. The two lead actors give brilliantly subtle performances, building more sexual / romantic tension than any other film I can think of.
Because of the interspersed scenes of farming, populated by non-actors, and which play almost like instructional documentary, the story feels utterly real. Ingeniously, the quiet, under-dramatised story achieves far more than an average romance and with far fewer brush-strokes. However, despite the documentary style of this film, many of the shots are very deliberately composed, and often linger increasingly gratuitously on the backs of necks, and jaw lines and so on, as if the director is gradually learning his two leads' best angles.
To see a depiction of a gay relationship that's stripped of materialism, of camp, and any wordy preoccupation with coming out, is refreshing. For some viewers, the film will feel slow and inconsequential, and for others, especially those familiar with the feeling of excitement and clandestinity and naughtiness that an unsuspected homosexual relationship often affords - this film will be the closest thing to reliving that experience.
on 1 October 2012
Benjamin Cantu's 'HARVEST' is a simply told love story of two lads who meet as farmhands and fall in love. There are sections where you learn some about various farming techniques such is the realist nature of the screenplay and plot. Marco and Jacob played by Lukas Steltner and Kai Michael Muller come from differing backgrounds. The former with issues (not least that he hasn't come out) while Jacob appears the more stable and sensing the other's recalcitrance makes most of the moves, until the inevitable. And that's just about all. No deep psychological meanderings. No flashy effects or camerawork. And despite some minor side plots such as Marco's weakness in writing, his reluctance towards girls making passes and so on, there's really not much more to it. Competent direction and design, Affable performances. I just wish they'd all cheer up a bit. An agreeable 85 minutes or so. In German with subtitles.
This is the story of two lads who are working as interns at a German farming school, and we are told of a `passionate love that develops'. This is shot in a way that has the look and feel of a documentary, with sometimes pointless exchanges that do nothing to take the story or indeed the narrative further. The two main players are the only professional actors in this they are Jakob (Kai Michael Muller) and Marko (Lukas Stetner) who, it must be fair to say, do an above average job given the script and ad libbing. The rest of the cast are just ordinary folk who are obviously farming types.
There is a lot of `mood' in this film, where we are reflecting on the looks and stares or meaningful silences, in order to understand what is going on. There is also minimal background music which adds even more to the docudrama feel of the thing. Some of the sub titles, which are in white, often get obscured by the background too, but that is a very minor gripe. The real problem is that nothing really happens; it's like a perpetual ride to Nowhersville.
There is a lot about farming, so farm fetishists (if they exist) will be in welly heaven. There are explicit scenes involving the European `classic tractor' the Zeto 5211, graphic portrayals of cow husbandry and full frontal shots of irrigation machines. Plus a whole plethora of art house camera angles and suggestive looks. There is though some character development, but it just does so at a glacial pace and for a film with a run time of 88 minutes that is just another sign post to the severe lack of action.
With regards to the `passion' we were promised, we have to wait an eon for anything much and then its just drunken fumbling, but I did get to learn how to process carrots so not a complete loss. I actually am a big fan of gay themed and foreign cinema but this is about as ground breaking as a broken rotovator (farm reference!). If you like a very gentle coming of age/out flick, then this might be for you. If you want some hands on lessons in farming, this might be for you, if you want something exciting and original that has a real gay theme, then best to give this one a wide berth, as this just did not `plough my furrow' (I do mean that in a lewd way too)so it is just OK hence the three stars.
on 24 December 2012
At first viewing I though, hmm OK. But I thought about the story more in the coming days, perhaps needing more time to digest the subject matter. Watched it again a week later and total about face. If you like something that makes you think, then hits you like a truck days later - then this is the film. Superb.
on 12 March 2013
Yes, occasionally the acting is not up to scratch - but the leads and, indeed, the plot, are very convincing. No pretentiousness, no American style pointless sex, just a story, a real background, real people, real emotions, and, most importantly, a very positive message. Good stuff.
on 4 March 2012
This is an unusual film in that it is a feature film with a strong documentary element. The two leading actors,Kai-Michael Muller and Lukas Steltner, both excellent, blend in beautifully with their real-life counterparts and their tender love story is most effective.
on 1 March 2012
This film is rather unique in its style. There's an authenticity that you can feel every minute, even in its clumsyness.
You will enjoy its unsophisticated nature, that is if you are interested by nature!
Then,when visioning a few interviews included on the DVD, you realize that there are only two professional comedians acting! That's just stunning!
Have a try, that's a piece of art!
on 18 November 2011
(( NOTE: 1/2-STAR added for high degree of location / setting authenticity captured ON FILM. Otherwise, Story...Acting...Camera Work are rated at 2 1/2-STARS ))
Described at many DVD sales sites as more of a Gay Romance and at Imdb.com as a Drama. Neither description is "mostly" correct. For why, read on.
In the Director's words, this is a film he calls "The Farm" (perhaps being titled "Harvest" is more marketable for non-German distribution). Also in Benjamin Cantu's own words, this is more a "Documentary" (at least, a semi-one), rather than a film in either of the 2 Genres mentioned above. Now, in order for you to relate more easily to this film and its location, think of it as being a take on, or a counterpart to, the United States "F"uture "F"armers of "A"merica. BUT, here in this film, it's a story taking place on the far outskirts of Berlin, in an agricultural school established to intern / train the "FFG". Note that farm life and activities are quite realistically portrayed, right down to the actual use of farm machinery and the handling of animals (it is a working farm). Yes, there is a "side story" in which we are given scenes of the developing "relationship" between 2 young, male trainees (the only professional actors in this film; the many other persons you see being actual agricultural school students and their instructors).
As for my general impression of the storyline, I find it one which smacks of ruralness, of a deeply agricultural environment AND, frankly, a fair amount of "story aimlessness". There are many "Shifts" in the filmed activities shown to us, and those shifts never seem to lead anywhere meaningful (this aimlessness also exists within that particular "personal relationship" we are waiting to see develop). Dialog, by writer / director admission, is often unscripted or improvisational, and there is much reliance upon "looks" and "glances" to get a point....or a feeling across to us.
And as for what we are all waiting to see occur (due to the "romantic pitch" often given this movie), physical contact between the 2 leads is very slow in coming....and amounts to nothing other than upper body contact. Kissing scenes are particularly mishandled, due to poor camera angles and even worse use of lighting. Still, both of the Straight actors, playing characters Marko and Jakob, are fairly adept at portraying the qualms of "coming out" and facing up to a first affair. Kai-Michael Müller, as Jakob, is particularly able at expressing such feelings. Lukas Steltner (Marko), who we follow from film's beginning, is more stoic in nature (due likely to a more "iffy" family background).
At best, I see this as an "intermittently Gay" film, which I will NOT be keeping in my Film Library for this Genre.