Boys on film 16 review by Jack Cline

Peccadillo has gathered 10 unusually bold films for this collection of gay-themed shorts. Most are quite dark, touching on big issues like obsession, sexism and subtle everyday bigotry. Some filmmakers say these things with humour, others with challenging drama and intense emotion. But all of them are memorable simply because the people and situations are so easy to identify with.

The best films in this set grapple with the struggles of being an outsider in society, including two from German filmmaker Kai Staenicke: the clever and profoundly moving Golden, tracing an entire life in three epic minutes, and the stop-motion puppet drama B., in which a Barbie-doll fights back against homophobia.

The American short Sign is a sharply pointed and surprisingly sweet silent movie about a young man who falls for a deaf guy on the New York Subway. And from Belgium, Follow Me is a moody, evocative story about an 18-year-old with an obsessive crush on his art teacher.

Four British filmmakers are represented: Jake Graf’s Chance is an involving, warm tale about two outcasts finding each other. Christopher Manning’s Jamie is a beautifully understated romance about a young man’s first experience with a dating app. Oliver Mason’s Away With Me is a gorgeously shot drama that gets sexy and sweaty as it follows a new couple on holiday to Nice. And Charlie Francis’ When a Man Loves a Woman is a snappy comedy about a young guy trying to de-gay his life for his mother’s visit.

Finally, there are a couple of films that take rather more unforgettable approaches. The Russian-set PIOTR495 (from Canada) follows a nervous young guy on a phone-app date that turns riotously, gothically violent. And from Sweden, the inventive We Could Be Parents is a provocative single-take monologue that asks us to look at issues like monogamy and gay parenthood from a new perspective. Yes, these little movies always have a lot more to say than those big blockbusters clogging up our cinemas this summer. And they’re a lot sexier.

Boys on Film 16: Possession, as well as the previous 15 collections, are on DVD/VOD now from Peccadillo Pictures (

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