Departure

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema, Skin & Skylcad 6 Comments

Beatrice (Juliette Stevenson and her teenage son Elliot (Alex Lawther,) are preparing for the sale of their vacation home in the south of France.

Elliot struggles with his dawning sexuality and an increasing alienation from his mother. Beatrice in turn is upset over the sale of the house and her crumbling marriage.

When an enigmatic local teenager, Clément, enters their lives, both mother and son are compelled to confront their desires and, finally, each other. Departure is an intimate story beginning at dawn on the first day and ending at night on the sixth, charting the end of a summer, the end of a childhood and the end of an otherwise nuclear, middle class family.

 

Alex and the Handyman

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 20 Comments

Alex And The Handyman takes a look at pre-adolescent sexuality in a sweet way. The film precocious nine-year-old Alex, who develops an instant crush on much older handyman, Jared. The child wants the moody 20-something man’s attention, but Jared isn’t that interested in humoring the fantasies of a kid.

The short starts off as a sweet and sometimes funny look at pre-sexual awakening. However, some people will probably be freaked out a bit by the end.

You can watch the whole short here. Submitted by Marvin.

Saturday Church

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 10 Comments

Saturday Church tells the story of 14-year-old Ulysses as he struggles to express his personality & sexuality in a hostile environment.

Ulysses, the young protagonist of Saturday Church, is first seen at the burial of his father, a soldier killed overseas. The New York teen, played by Luka Kain, has delicate features and carries an air of quiet about him.

He and his younger brother will now be looked after by both their mother Amara and strict Aunt Rose. The latter does not mince words after Ulysses is discovered trying on his mother’s shoes. “If I ever hear of you even looking at women’s clothing, I will beat it out of you. You are a man. Start acting like one,” she says, enunciating each word with controlled rage.

But the boy is in no way conflicted about his sexual orientation — he’s just surrounded by disapproval. As a form of escape, he imagines his life as a musical, and the movie is dotted with song and dance, beginning with a particularly audacious locker-room scene in which Ulysses’ jock tormentors turn into backup dancers.

For real-life affinity, Ulysses seeks companionship on the pier by Manhattan’s Christopher Street, where he is enlisted into Saturday Church, a program for at-risk queer youth (the program in the movie is based on a real one).

The film was written and directed by Damon Cardasis, making his feature debut. It is a disarmingly and consistently sensitive movie that remains engaging even when its reach sometimes exceeds its grasp (a musical number set in what might be the world’s tidiest homeless shelter for example).

The wonderful cast brings the story home, and Luka Kain in particular is a real find. When Ulysses first puts on lip gloss in a room full of people who accept him, the smile that plays on his face is both ebullient and heart-rending.

Sleepy Sunday *4

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema, Sleepy Sunday 13 Comments

Full-time childhood, an alien time in which everything around us is passed through pure bodies and perceptions. One eye and a soul that follow invisible trajectories; only the instinct and the senses reign, along with the imagination.

I Cormorani takes us on a transfigured journey into this total reality. The film is an experiment in meta-cinema. A direct drive trailing the wandering of Matteo and Samuele: two twelve year old boys who live their long, lazy days of summer between nature and civilisation. The forest, the river and the mall become another dimension for us who observe them.

Their intimacy and complicity transfigures them unaware, in objects, lights, sounds and smells: of life and man, amplifying their objectification in a sublime fashion. Their and our way of being in the world, to find a sense of meaning.

Freak Show

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 3 Comments

There are plenty of great films in recent years about finding yourself and staying true to who you are deep down. Freak Show is another one of these films, but it has a refreshingly optimistic feel to it that makes it stand out.

It first premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and is an entertaining, enjoyable, optimistic story about personal identity and fighting back against bullies (not with violence, but with pride and courage). Alex Lawther stars a young, gay high school student named Billy Bloom who dresses up lavishly every day (think: Lady Gaga) yet the film isn’t so much about homosexuality as it is about being totally yourself, and finding a way to survive even if you don’t fit in with everyone else.

Lawther’s performance as Billy Bloom is the most essential part of the story and it really works wonders, as he embraces every last aspect of the character. It honestly doesn’t even seem like a “performance” so much as a genuine expression of individuality and creativity.

Bloom comes from a very wealthy family and when he joins a new school after moving in with his father, he gets bullied and beat up. He stands out as the only weird one in the school, and makes a few friends who help him to navigate the treacherous world of high school.

Directed by Trudie Styler, based on the book by James St. James, the film is fairly lightweight and easy to watch, staying optimistic and pleasant when it easily could be more serious or depressing. This actually benefits the film because it makes it more enchanting overall.

Different from the Others

milkboys Films, History 2 Comments

In 1919 the first known film that was sympathetic to gay people was produced. A year later, it was banned. Different from the Others (Anders als die Andern) is a German movie about a relationship between a master violinist and his student.

Paul Körner, the violinist, is approached by a young man named Kurt who begs Paul to be his teacher. He accepts and their relationship develops.

Their families don’t understand their relationship, and Paul comes out to his parents by sending them to a doctor who explains that Paul is gay and it’s nothing to worry about. Homosexuality isn’t an illness, the doctor says, it’s just a normal variation of human sexuality.

This was 50 years before Stonewall. These ideas were revolutionary even during the brief social liberalization Germany experienced in the decade before the Great Depression, which is why public screenings of the film were banned a year after it was released.

The film goes on to discuss suicide among gay men, the pressure to be straight, and blackmail used against Paul.

Magnus Hirschfeld, a Jewish doctor and sexologist who rose to fame at the beginning of the 20th century and is remembered most as one of the first major gay rights activists and for founding one of the first gay organizations in the world, helped make the film. He devoted his life to trying to get the law the banned homosexuality in Germany repealed, and he believed that more education and scientific understanding could help society accept gay people.

The film was produced with the help of Hirschfeld’s Institute of Sexual Research and 40 copies were produced, according to John Baxter’s book Carnal Knowledge. The Institute of Sexual Research was raided and closed when the Nazis came to power in 1933, and Hirschfeld spent the last few years of his life in France trying to continue his work before he died of a heart attack in 1935.

You can watch the film on YouTube.

Three Summers

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 9 Comments

Jørgen lives abroad but every summer he comes back to Denmark with his wife. He invites, as usual, his neighbours and their teenager son, Thomas, for dinner at his place. Only, this time, there is a strange tension in the air between the adults.

After dinner, Jørgen and Thomas go to the beach for a walk. They discover that both have secret problems and the fact they cannot talk about them is creating great stress. As they disclose their secrets to each other, a friendship starts but through the course of the next two summers, their relationship develops in a way they would never have expected.