12 Notes Down

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 16 Comments

How do you decide when it’s time to let go? For young Jorgis, the star voice of the Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir, the moment is upon him. With just a few weeks to go before an important concert, his voice has suddenly begun to break, forcing the 14-year-old into a state of transition he is not prepared for. He must choose between damaging his vocal cords trying to hit the high notes and dashing his hopes by walking away in this tender portrayal of a universal, yet intensely personal, rite of passage.

Shower – A dark Short about Repressed Sexuality

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 12 Comments

A man enters the shower after working out, but is soon side tracked by an unidentified noise. He decides to seek out the source and enters a situation that leave him completely exposed.

Moiré

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 6 Comments

Each house locked away the secret of a family. For one hour a day Sergio, helped by his grandmother, carry out his desires in a home dominated by his grandfather. A twist will force Elena, his mother, to make a decision that will change their lives.

Drag Queen Kid

milkboys Clips & Spots 11 Comments

8-year-old Lactatia is Montreal’s latest drag queen. Lactatia (real name Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden) got into drag at age 7 with encouragement from both parents and peers, gaining recognition after being invited onstage by Bianca Del Rio at a Montreal drag event, where — in full drag — Lactatia served up snark and sass like a queen. For Nemis, an elementary-school student who also loves to skateboard, it’s all about celebrating identity. While he doesn’t feel that he’s gay or transgender, Nemis knows for sure that his fabulous alter ego’s been with him since birth.

Heartstone

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 24 Comments

Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson makes a promising debut in this tender, slightly lopsided study of teenage friendship and inchoate sexuality.

There’s a vast, storm-hued majesty to the jagged coastal edges of Iceland that inspires hushed awe in tourists, armchair travellers and filmmakers alike, but to a teenager growing up — and, more trickily still, coming out — in this brooding idyll, it can seem like a smallest place in the world. That’s the cruelly frustrated perspective shared by two best friends in Heartstone, at least until they realise that they’re no longer experiencing the same coming-of-age crisis. Richly atmospheric the film toggles its main characters’ arcs for a stretch, before giving preferential treatment to the less dramatically challenging of the two. Still, first-time feature director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson steers proceedings with enough serenity and sensitivity to soften stonier hearts in the arthouse market.

In its positioning of the rural Icelandic landscape as a kind of silent, ever-present antagonist to its principals’ progress, Guðmundsson’s formally imposing debut visually and tonally recalls the work of his compatriot Runar Runarsson — whose own somber 2015 coming-of-ager, Sparrows, deployed similar physical terrain to much the same emotional effect.

The boys’ conflicted, even hostile, relationship to their environment is viscerally symbolised in a startling opening scene, which in which 14-year-old Thor and Kristján, together with a group of pals, savagely cull a school of fish in the local dock, plucking them from the water and bashing their heads on dry land. This kind of hormonally fevered destruction is what passes for fun in their sleepy maritime village, where Thor lives with his single mother — who has recently, to her children’s aggrievement, re-entered the dating scene — and two older, somewhat bullying sisters. Kristján, meanwhile, weathers a consistent stream of abuse from his hard-drinking dad.

While the two boys have a supportive social circle (including some girls with whom they make halting attempts at romance), it’s clear that they’re the most important people in each other’s lives. Tall, sturdy Kristján, already accelerating into manhood, acts as something of a protector to the less mature, none-too-aptly named Thor — who, in one of several wry observations on the occasional tedium of adolescence, fashions a merkin from hairbrush debris as he waits for his pubic hair to grow in.

But as the kids horse around and venture into tentative sexual explorations, it’ll become clear to audiences — if not quite yet to Thor himself — that Kristján’s devotion to him isn’t purely platonic. For many LGBT audiences, such inchoate, unrequited desires will register as a familiar rite of passage. Guðmundsson maps the subtle, even subconscious, strain this development places on the relationship with tact and intelligence, aided by the open, naturally expressive performances of his two young leads. But as the film drifts further into Thor’s not-quite-comprehending headspace, Kristján recedes into the background, even as his character negotiates a compelling maelstrom of warring feelings and external obstacles — including the homophobia of his own parents, as adulthood comes with its own limitations in this stymied community. To quote an Emiliana Torrini song that Thor’s sisters blissfully listen to: “If it’s so good being free/Would you mind telling me/Why I don’t know what to do with myself?”

Sympathetic as Thor’s journey to awareness is, Heartstone’s languid, rollingly repetitive storytelling never quite justifies its weighted focus on his character at the expense of his friend’s more active anguish; a more judicious edit could place both in sharper relief. (The question of how assured Thor is of his own nascent sexuality, meanwhile, is only skirtingly addressed.) Later, Guðmundsson returns to the fish motif in slightly more contrived fashion, as a bullrout is briefly taken from the water and thrown back in, plummeting briefly before finding its gills. Not everyone in this thoughtful, lyrical, slightly over-deliberate tour of a beautiful teenage wasteland gets his own sink-or-swim moment of catharsis.

My 13

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 6 Comments

Jonathan is in love with Julie. Unable to gather the courage to speak to Julie, Jonathan formulates a plan to steal her diary, which he believes would reveal to him the way to impress his crush. The plan includes befriending Julie’s brother Charles who is Jonathan’s classmate. Thanks to Charles, Jonathan gets an invitation to a party at their house.

During the party, Jonathan manages to steal the diary, excuses himself and heads home to read it. On one of the pages of the diary, he finds a drawn heart and the name …Jonathan. He is overjoyed until he realises what’s really going on…

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Raised Without Gender

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A new documentary heads to Sweden, home to gender neutral kindergartens and gender non-conforming families, to find out what it’s like to grow up beyond the binary.

With recent victories for the trans rights movement, and more young people defining as something other than “male” or “female” than ever before, Amelia Abraham visits Sweden – arguably the world’s most forward-thinking country when it comes to questioning gender – to find out what it’s like to grow up without the gender binary.

In Sweden, the gender neutral pronoun “hen” has been in the national dictionary since 2015 and is now commonly used by most Swedes. Since 1998, the Swedish government’s school plan has forbidden enforcing gender stereotypes, and government-funded gender neutral kindergartens with gender aware teachers has made it possible for families to raise their children without a set gender identity – something that often sparks controversy in the foreign press.

Amelia spends time with one of these gender non-conforming families, made up of mapa (mum and dad) Del LaGrace Volcano, who was born intersex (both male and female); the children, five-year-old Mika and three-year-old Nico, and their grandma, Margareta. She visits Mika and Nico’s gender aware kindergarten to find out what the teachers and the other kids make of Mika’s gender expression. She also meets Lotta Rajalin, the founder of Sweden’s gender-neutral kindergartens, to learn how they go about deleting gender norms from education, as well as psychiatrist Dr Eberhard, who is against Sweden’s attitude to gender in kindergartens.

Greyson’s Gay

milkboys Music & Dance, News 15 Comments

Greyson Chance first made waves in public with an amazingly accomplished cover of “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga, which went viral after he performed it for Ellen DeGeneres at the age of 12.

Today, Greyson has announced on Instagram that he’s gay, and explains why it took him a bit of time to acknowledge his sexuality.

“I came to fully recognize that I was gay when I was sixteen,” he writes. “I decided not to publicize my sexuality largely due to a matter of privacy, as I was still trying to find comfort and confidence within my own skin.” He also explained his perspective that his sexuality wasn’t necessarily the most interesting topic of conversation: “I always found conversations regarding music, politics, art, books — and the greatness of Nas’ catalog —to be far more interesting than what type of guy I was into. This is still true today.”

He changed his mind after reading an inspirational message from one of his fans, which made him realize the importance of LGBTQ visibility — even if you have to find it on your own terms.

“I encourage anyone who is navigating their sexuality to devote as much time as they need to the process of finding self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-love,” he says. “Hell, for me, it took years to write this message.”

The decision to write this came after I received a message from a brave individual. Such message inspired me to shed light on an aspect of my private life which I have kept distant from my career in music. I came to fully recognize that I was gay when I was sixteen. I decided not to publicize my sexuality largely due to a matter of privacy, as I was still trying to find comfort and confidence within my own skin. Further, I always found conversations regarding music, politics, art, books – and the greatness of Nas’ catalog – to be far more interesting than what type of guy I was into. This is still true today. While this message is most definitely overdue, I encourage anyone who is navigating their sexuality to devote as much time as they need to the process of finding self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-love. Hell, for me, it took years to write this message. Nevertheless, I figured now was the time to let a few more friends know that I am happy, I am here for you, and I am proud of who I am. Cheers -G

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Gisberta

milkboys Films, Films & Cinema 5 Comments

Again and again Elisha finds himself confronted by Alex, Timo, Sascha, and Mika – all 14-year-olds living in the boys’ orphanage with him. Their worlds ought to be similar and yet they are completely different. While Elisha builds tiny obstacle courses for ants in the woods, the other boys spend their days watching porn, absorbed in their emerging sexual fantasies.

When the attractive 31-year-old Gisberta is newly employed at the orphanage, she quickly becomes the object of their desires and the boys try to approach her with clumsily aggressive adolescent behavior. Elisha, however, actually gets to know Gisberta.

Alex, who has his eyes everywhere, discovers the two laughing in the kitchen. His erupting jealousy drives the group to continuously humiliate Elisha in any way possible, but this just brings Elisha closer to Gisberta, and a tender friendship develops between them.

But one day the sexual fantasies of the other boys take a turn to brutal reality.