kaos at BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival

 kaos at 
 BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival 

Cross My Heart

After the complete abortion that was Saturday's Close Encounter mélange, I approached Sunday's shorts with some trepidition. Would these films also be made primarily for the amusement of the filmmaker, and not the audience?

Fortunately, programmer Michael Blyth's selection didn't leave me wanting to gouge my eyes out in protest. First up was Mathilde Bayle's The Swimming Trunks (France), a bittersweet film about a prepubescent boy's (non-sexual) crush on his friend's father. Films that rely on child actors can be crippled by an effective or precocious kid; fortunately, Roger Manning is neither. 

We're back in high school for Phil Connell's Kissing Drew (Canada, again!) for the (overly) familiar tale of a shy gay kid and his bully. It's accomplished enough, but we've seen this story way too many times before. Please, no more kids in high school!

Julián Hernández's Wandering Clouds (Mexico) will feel familiar to anyone who's seen his work (the mind-blowing Raging Sun, Raging Sky, or Broken Sky [one of the kaos Top 30 Gay Films of all time], or earlier festival entry Bramadero). It features Mexican boys in speedos - need I say anymore?

Laura Scrivano's The Language of Love (Australia) is an accomplished solo piece, written and performed by Kim Ho. It's short and sweet, even if the privileged boys' school setting calls to mind Ja'mie: Private School Girl.

Mark Pariselli's Monster Mash (Canada. Again! WTF? Really?) is a fun love letter (blood-spattered, of course) to horror. Fans of that genre will enjoy it more than the wider audience, but it holds its own, regardless. The shower scene got a big laugh.

Finally, Alex Bohs' Mum (USA) covers new territory, taking us away from the tired tropes of high school and bullying, and the twist is touching.

Both sets of shorts at Flare suffered from a lack of variety: too much high school, too much unrequited love, too much Canada (was it a job lot?) The world - the gay experience - is a much bigger place than we're seeing here. Disappointing.

Next: Big Words

More from kaos at BFI Flare.


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