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On this page: BFI Flare shorts - CRUISING ELSEWHERE | AN EVENING | THE HARES
HEAVY WEIGHT | JAMIE | MAN [PRIA] | PEDRO | SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN
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last update 28.Mar.17
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BFI Flare Shorts from BFI Flare: 16-26 March 2017 at BFI Southbank, London
Cruising Elsewhere   4/5  
dir-scr Ryan White
16/US 13m
Cruising Elsewhere

Cruising Elsewhere There's a clever mix of warm nostalgia and underlying outrage in this artful documentary about the notorious gay cruising ground at Wohler Beach on the Russian River in Northern California. As men reminisce about the heyday of the "gay beach", a place even more amazing than the urban legend it left behind, filmmaker overlays images of the site today with faded hints of vintage porn movies. It's an inventive approach that makes its point: the world was drastically changed by the Aids epidemic of the 1980s and the ensuing backlash against gay culture, which included making it impossible for people to visit this idyllic corner of the world. So while the film seems like a paean to a more free-loving time, it's actually much more than that. And it has a cautionary message for today's audiences about moralistic repression and the need to be more honest with ourselves about our sexuality.

BFI FLARE • 18.Mar.17

An Evening   4/5   En Aften
dir Soren Green
scr Soren Green, Tomas Lagermand Lundme
with Jacob August Ottensten, Ulrik Windfeldt-Schmidt, Julia Wentzel Olsen
16/Denmark 10m
Ottensten and Windfeldt-Schmidt
An Evening Basically, this Danish film exists in its exquisite cinematography, which uses light and skin to maximum effect. We see two teens (Ottensten and Windfeldt-Schmidt) lounging in the evening sunlight, gently touching each other. It's clear that one of them is far more emotionally engaged here, so perhaps this is taking place in his imagination. And he gets visibly jealous when a girl (Olsen) appears to take the other guy's attention. All of this is so understated that it's not quite clear exactly what's happening, but the emotions are vivid. And there's so much intrigue in the way the interaction plays out that it's impossible to look away. Filmmaker Green has an earthy touch that cuts right through the picturesque surface to reveal the yearnings underneath. Which leaves the film feeling both lighter than air and wrenchingly truthful.

BFI FLARE • 25.Mar.17

The Hares   5/5   Las Liebres
dir-scr Martin Rodriguez Redondo
with Leonel Hucalo, Agustin Rittano, Agustina Munoz, Mateo Andreone, Candela Lopatin, Luana Mellucci
16/Argentina 11m
Hucalo
The Hares This stunning little Argentine film tells a remarkably nuanced story that will resonate with anyone who has felt outside the box. It centres on the young Mariano (Hucalo), who likes playing dress-up with his sisters (Lopatin and Mellucci). But his parents (Rittano and Munoz) think he should be more masculine, so they send him out one night to hunt hares with masculine neighbour kid Federico (Andreone). It's easy to see why Mariano doesn't want to hang out with this dork, and as he is urged to kill a tiny creature his reticence is powerfully visceral. With very little dialog, filmmaker Redondo manages to dig deeply into the central theme, revealing startling details about the central characters, all of whom are played with unusual transparency. It's a subtle lesson in applying pressure on children to conform to societal norms that might not be appropriate for everyone. And it's a dark reminder of how that felt for us too.

BFI FLARE • 25.Mar.17

Heavy Weight   4/5  
dir Jonny Ruff
scr Chuku Modu, Jace Moody
with Chuku Modu, Jace Moody, Karl Reay, Dean Christie, Eddy Elsey, Matt Scott
16/UK 13m
moody and modu
Heavy Weight Set in a British boxing gym, this short is a sharply observed comment on hyper-masculinity and denial. At the centre is Paris (Modu), who endures the laddish chatter about girls in the locker room without taking part. He's immediately intrigued by the Irish newcomer Connor (Moody), a tough guy who looks like he might be a formidable opponent. But there's something else going on in the glances between them, an attraction that neither of them can admit. When one makes a lunge, the other recoils, even though he was clearly hoping for something to develop. The filmmakers adeptly capture the swagger of these athletic men, who define masculinity in their ability to punch someone. And yet it's clear that there are softer sides to them as well, which actually add to their strength. The film is snappy, sexy and often very funny, with lots of subtext in the fight scenes and horseplay. And in its final intense sequence, it becomes a knowing depiction of the strain between who we are and who we want others to think we are.

BFI FLARE • 25.Mar.17

Jamie   4/5  
dir-scr Christopher Manning
with Sebastian Christopher, Raphael Verrion
16/UK 9m
verrion and christopher
Jamie There's an understated simplicity to this short, which is beautifully crafted by filmmaker Manning to tap into a very specific moment in time. In London, Jamie (Christopher) is a young guy who is distracted by a dating app, setting up a meeting with Ben (Verrion) after a family birthday party. They meet alongside the river, and both are surprised that the other turned up, because most guys don't. For Jamie, this is clearly his first time meeting another man, but he doesn't want to let on. Their conversation is unexpectedly easy and open, and perhaps a bit obviously scripted. They talk about their lives, expectations, who they're out to, who was their first guy. It's shot with a terrific eye for the characters and settings, and the story plays out with natural authenticity that makes it both knowing and likeable. And the ending is a real stunner, a moment of raw emotion that perfectly catches Jamie's internal journey.

BFI FLARE • 25.Mar.17

Man   4.5/5   Pria
dir Yudho Aditya
scr Barbara Cigarroa, Yudho Aditya, Dea Kulumbegashvili
with Chicco Kurniawan, Karlina Inawati, Jacob McCarthy, Otig Pakis, Gladhys Elliona Syahutari, H Jaelani, Acum Bin Kosim
16/Indonesia 22m
kurniawan
Man There's a powerful kick to this short film that makes it impossible to dismiss as perhaps a little too foreign. Set in Indonesia, it follows 16-year-old Aris (Kurniawan) in the days before his arranged marriage to Gita (Syahutari). He's clearly nervous about this, expressing his unease to his mother (Inawati) and his English teacher (McCarthy), on whom he clearly has a crush. All of this raises the suspicions of the father of the bride (Pakis). With a beautiful sense of the setting, sharply photographed and edited, filmmaker Aditya paints a crisp picture of a culture resistant to change. There allusions to a gay "cure" and a creepy horse-hair sex aid, all seen through Aris' bright, cheerful eyes as he faces a series of compromises, including a harsh crew cut. The climactic moment in the film is a stunningly wordless plea for help that feels powerfully authentic. And the film's final scene carries such a punch that it's impossible not to be deeply moved. These are brave filmmakers, confronting a taboo in a harshly closed country. And anyone will recognise exactly what these people are feeling.

BFI FLARE • 25.Mar.17

Pedro   3.5/5  
dir-scr Marco Leao, Andre Santos
with Filipe Abreu, Rita Durao, Marcello Urgeghe, Joao Villas-Boas
16/Portugal 20m
abreu
Pedro From Portugal, this elusive short traverses a lot of territory in just 20 minutes, digging into the experiences of a young guy with very little dialog. But the characters emerge as intriguing people with full lives that often surprise us. At the centre, Pedro (Abreu) is a young guy who lives with his demanding mother (Durao). In the evening he hides in his bedroom, doing a webcam show for paying viewers. The next morning, his mother nags him into driving her to the beach on his motorbike. They walk through the dunes and lounge in the sunshine, but she is clearly nervous about something. Meanwhile, Pedro is watching the surroundings, hooking up with a random man in the bushes. The story takes a couple of turns along the way, and the filmmakers casually let the events play out without much definition or comment. The point is clearly that this mother and son are both lonely people in need of company, and they have different ways of scratching that itch. It's strikingly well shot and acted, but so minimalistic and slow that it feels somewhat random.

BFI FLARE • 25.Mar.17

Sunday Morning Coming Down   4/5  
dir-scr Harry Lighton
with David Shields, Henry Faber, Sophia Flohr
16/UK 20m
shields
Sunday Morning Coming Down This edgy British short is a little elusive about its plot, but packs a strong punch in the way events play out. It opens in a house as brothers Max and Jordan (Shields and Faber) are planning something that they clearly don't want to talk about with Jordan's high-maintenance girlfriend Rosie (Flohr). Soon they escape from the house and head to the seaside, distracting themselves with discussions about football. And it emerges that Jordan is helping Max meet a man for his first experience of sex in a public toilet. But things don't play out quite as they hoped they would. The dialog is all a bit mumbly, leaving the audience to work out what is happening here. But the tone is snappy and relaxed, with striking photography and intriguing settings, with a hint that this is a period piece (football fans may get that more clearly). It's an offbeat approach to some very big themes, and what emerges most is a rather lovely exploration of the relationship between these siblings, who would clearly do anything for each other. Although perhaps not this again.

BFI FLARE • 25.Mar.17


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