Many different topics are touched on here and the range of approaches may surprise those who bring preconceived notions of what ‘gay’ short films are about. Some characters here are straight and are full of misconceptions about what it means to be and act ‘gay’, others are straight and having to confront queerness in all sorts of variations and forms and others still are homosexual but operate at different levels of awareness of their sexuality. What characterises this collection is not just a common thread of secrecy and buried desires but the sense of curiosity which runs deeply and consistently throughout.
Just as there are a range of subject matters here there is also a range of quality on display. Almost all the shorts have something interesting to say however a few don’t convince in certain areas. The worst offender is the opening short in which some less than perfect acting from one member destroys the film’s sense of narrative and theme. However this is something to celebrate in each of these shorts and when they are at there best they prove to be shiny examples of the short film format. The best short here is one such film; it’s called Followers and tells the unconventional story of an elederly woman who becomes fixated on a young man after she has a vision of Jesus on his swimming shorts. It’s a sweet and well observed story which never tries to say too much, instead it sets out to capture and represent a slither of humanity, an honorable goal in which it fully succeeds.
As a collection this is a success in which tender portrayals such as Followers sit comfortably by and compliment louder and more challenging texts. You’re moved from one style of storytelling to another with little time to gather your breath, but it’s a technique which works as each adds to a more complex overall picture. It does have it’s weak entries but when it is at it its strongest it displays some of the finest sort filmmaking around today.
Fancy winning a copy of Boys on Film 13? Head on over here for the opportunity and if you don’t manage to bag that prize then Peccadillo Pictures have released the collection today which you will be able to buy from Peccadillo Pictures themselves, from Amazon, iTunes and every self-respecting retailer.