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not one of the best ...
on 10 March 2014
This all-British collection in the Boys On Film series is not one of the best, I don't think. Nightswimming doesn't makes sense - when has there ever been a nightwatchman at a swimming pool who goes round in the dark, with a teenage couple who have decided to break in and spend the night there? And then the boy teases the middle aged nightwatchman who clearly fancies him almost uncontrollably? Not a single gesture is convincing, although visually it keeps your interest from one frame to the next and is quite atmospheric.
A film set on the Isle of Wight is simply dull, one of two about a young man looking after his mother. The other, I Don't Care, is rather better, with a good lead. He's attractive in an unconventional way, and comes across as an individual. However the other boy who appears, who is gay, is wrongly pitched, and I found the character unappealing which spoilt the film.
Diana is one of the two best, a short film showing a young boy who seems quite far along the path to presenting himself as a woman, and is rejected by his Indian family. Not only is he rather beautiful, his despair is well caught, and highly cinematically. There is real intensity in the images.
Another quite interesting film shows an SM encounter where a 20-year-old man puts himself into the hands of a thirty-something man for a rather unnerving scene. It is unsettling but did have something to say, without being simplistic, sensationalist or conclusive - quite a feat in itself. It does convey a sense of dangerous eroticism.
A revenge teen party drama seems unaware that all the characters are awful, thereby failing to generate any interest, as well as feeling very set-up. It wants to be very daring, but isn't.
Best of the bunch is the first, All Over Brazil, about a boy's interest in glam rock and the clothing that goes with it, set against the World Cup Final - this one is a real gem, not a very high quality print, but interesting, which means the shortest two are actually the best, and by quite a margin.
Another deals with a horrible persecution of a man who likes younger teens, but it is so unpleasant and obvious in the stance of the characters that its nastiness feels completely unwarranted - there's nothing to be learnt from this.
Obviousness is also the key feature of an encounter between a Muslim girl and a transvestite who get stuck in a lift together.
And finally, there's a mysterious drama about a chef who fancies a young apprentice, although he's married with children. It intersperses enigmatic looks with the slicing and kneading of ingredients, and promises more than it ends up giving. The most interesting thing is that the chef is played by an actor called Jonathan Firth who looks like Colin Firth - presumbly a brother, or cousin who looks very similar. The filmmaker had clearly seen A Single Man, as the music is very similar to that film, with the Firth presence - however the comparison doesn't do the short any favours.