Baby Bump

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 12 Comments

We’ve all done it before. Wondered about our place in gender, sex, the family, school, and even society, all before we’ve gotten into puberty. We’d also rather not admit to doing a number of things at that delicate age; selling urine for handsome prices, letting the cartoon character in our head call us a “cunt”, freeze various body parts off, etc. And this is the perfectly ‘normal’ examination of boyhood that Kuba Czekaj’s film, Baby Bump, presents before us as part of the Biennale College Programme.

Czekaj’s film begins boldly with a devilish parody of a Disney-Pixar short, full of brimming sexuality and vulgarity before the premise is even established. However, the premise of Baby Bump is one slippery concept, roughly following the adventures of a young boy, Mickey House, as he races from innocence to puberty faster than a rising, raging erection. Brutally honest and hilariously blunt, to classify Baby Bump is a futile task, as the Freudian psychology of Psycho inflects things as much as the high-school archetypes of Mean Girls do. It even feels unfair to call it truly surrealist, as the journey big-eared Mickey travels on more-or-less makes sense with a shaky progression from A to B (and, in an astonishing sequence, back again). Yet Czekaj never lets the nuttiness overcome the true subject, which is quite a feat considering the rather distracting image of a young boy tearing his own penis from his crotch.

With most of the €150,000 budget spent on production design, it would be easy to mistake Baby Bump for being overwhelmingly aesthetic, with no real message behind the garish comic-book visuals, but Czekaj’s and young actor Kacper Olszewski’s dedication to the project really comes through in a very sincere way. Although truly revolting at points, Baby Bump is easily the most refreshing film about growing up since Boyhood.

Submitted by Ika

Handsome and Majestic

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 4 Comments

This short documentary profiles Milan, a 15-year-old transgender boy growing up in the northern Canadian city of Prince George, B.C.

As a recently transitioned transgender boy, Milan deals with discrimination from his peers and teachers at school, as he seeks to find other kids like himself. His parents are open and supportive throughout his transition, and his sister Lulu never questioned that Milan was her brother.

However, at his elementary school, he must face the lack of education, intolerance and even assault. When Milan meets another transgender boy in his neighbourhood, he finally finds someone his age who understands and shares his experience. With the support of his friends and family, Milan has become a role model and an advocate for trans individuals in his small community and beyond.

Submitted by QueQat

Handsome Devil

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 5 Comments

Ned, an artistically inclined misfit, is so miserable at his conservative Irish boarding school that he longs to be expelled. His situation does not improve when he meets his soft-spoken roommate, a rugby-playing transfer student named Conor. But adolescent preconceptions about jocks and geeks are overcome, and the two form an unlikely friendship challenged by the school’s homophobic atmosphere.

Handsome Devil transcends its well-worn classroom drama routine once the characters’ sexual identities become a talking point instead of a schoolyard taunt. The film’s earnest message of acceptance is encumbered by stylistic choices, like a disruptive voice-over and clumsy split-screen montages contrasting the boys’ vastly different social experiences. The story flirts with daddy and betrayal issues but then fails to explore them fully.

John Butler, the director, who also wrote the script, fashions this uncaring environment in the tradition of “If …” (1969) and “Dead Poets Society”(1989), which also lends its kindly professor archetype, here played by Andrew Scott (“Sherlock”), who intervenes in his students’ lives. Scott’s performance brings much-needed sympathy and direction to the story; he’s kind of an emotional foil to the wild-eyed but meek Mr. O’Shea and too-stoic Mr. Galitzine. As in many a high school movie, it’s the seasoned teacher who brings the best out of his pupils, and here Scott draws the hidden potential not only from his students but also from the film.

Submitted by Bill

Love, Simon

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 9 Comments

This is a big deal. Next March, 20th Century Fox will release a big screen, John Hughes-esque romantic flick about teenager in love. The twist? He’s gay.

Love, Simon, based on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 YA novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and directed by Greg Berlanti (RiverdaleThe Flash), follows Simon (Jurassic World‘s Nick Robinson), a teenager who starts an email romance with another closeted classmate (the title is a play on how he ends his correspondences).

From the same studio and producers of The Fault in Our StarsSimonhas all the markings of a classic, mainstream teen coming-of-age flick: football games, drunken parties, school carnivals. But the romantic leads are two guys. It’s sweet, sad and, ultimately, ground-breaking especially because it looks kinda generic.

The fact that queer stories get the big studio treatment is probably a good sign for the normalisation of same sex love on the big screen even if it means that the film itself might be a bit boring if you’re not into the classic Hollywood teen romance flicks.

Water | Vattnet

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 4 Comments

James leads a lonely life in a luxurious castle in which his parents run a hotel. He never goes out with friends, spends his spare time in his room and peeks at the hotel’s guests out of boredom. Generally hides in his room, to stay away from his wannabe-controlling mother, who has no insight in the life of her son, James is forced outside when a group of handsome Swedish soccer players staying at the hotel capture his interest.

When he finds one of the boys injured at the hotel’s swimming pool, James offers his help and smuggles the boy into his room and locks the door. Locked up with a strange boy in his own room, James experiences the complexity of his own sexual feelings and insecurities for the first time.

WATER | VATTNET is a short coming-of-age film about family, loneliness and sexual identity. It examines the confusing period of adolescence and the first homosexual feelings of a young boy