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THE ANGST OF 'FIRST LOVE' - TEENAGE GAY OR NOT!,
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This review is from: North Sea Texas [DVD] (DVD)
I found this first feature-length film by Flemish director Bavo Defurne to be a well-crafted depiction of being a young teenage gay, in the era and meagre commune in which it is set.
Each of the characters -though understated- are finely drawn in the both emotionally and visually stark microcosm of small-town life, somewhere on the Belgian coast. Defurne draws a remarkable performance from Jelle Florizone -15 when filming began(?)- as the central character Pim, whose physical fantasies regarding the slightly older and knowing 'boy next-door' Gino are superficially fulfilled; -but devoid of the emotion and love he yearns.
The theme of unrequited first-love is further complicated by the bourgeoning infatuation of Gino's sister towards Pim. None of the surrounding adults have anything other than the most empty of relationships, either with each other or their children.
The dawdling pace serves to emphasise the sheer barreness and ennui in each of the character's lives.
Although a 'coming-of-age' film, the ambiguous conclusion does not betray if the ingennuous yearnings in Pim's sequestered life are in fact genuinely fulfilled.
Whether 'gay' or 'straight' most of us have 'been there'; and I found it a stirring reminder of the sheer 'aloneness' of unrequited 'first-love.