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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
It took me a while to accustom myself to the slow pace and quiet atmosphere of the film, but after about a quarter of an hour I came to understand the intention, and to enjoy it. There is almost no music or voiceover to cloud our perceptions of the action, so the viewer can really feel like a "fly on the wall" at the farm. In an introverted social context, the characters speak very, very little, and their thoughts and feelings are implicit or conveyed by body language. The dialogue is sparse, most of it quite factual, instructional and educational. people don't discuss their feelings, and they struggle to make smalltalk. This can be confusing at first. The dialogue between the two men takes place within their heads, and is largely unspoken, so the viewer has to intuitively try to understand what they are feeling. There's plenty of action going on, but it happens inside the characters minds.
Apart from the story of sexual awakening on the part of the main characters, "Harvest" is fascinating as a documentary about the life of a real farm school in the former German Democratic Republic. As part of the production, the two lead actors became apprentices at the farm school. All the rest of the cast are the real staff and students at the real farm school, doing exactly what they would normally do, but for a few days with two new apprentices who take part quite naturally in the day-to-day lie on the farm.
The new apprentice, Jakob had been an apprentice at a bank before giving it up to learn about farming. We are not really told about his sexual identity, but the main problem he has to resolve seems to be how to approach his now fellow-student. For the other main character, Marco, the struggle is to accept his disruptive sexual feelings and sexual orientation. This not a romance, but the story of the struggle to accept sexual desire. The two eventually resolve the tension and the struggle, not in a heroic way, but in the way that any ordinary teenager would in such a situation.
This film is not a love story, I think, and there's no struggle for social acceptance except between themselves, no struggle against homophobia, and apparently no triumphant ending. Life will never be the same again for characters, but they overcome the problem and presumably they will just get on with their lives afterwards. So it's a fascinating farming and social documentary, and about how two introverted men struggle to connect and how together they clumsily reach an understanding (which is a climax, and a triumph, but you need to think about it to understand why). The viewer has to make an effort to grasp what has really happened, but that effort is very rewarding.
I wouldn't recommend it for someone looking for for a love story or for action, but if you're prepared to make an effort to understand a different way of thinking and communicating, and of film making, or to get to know the people who live on a working farm, then yes.