Tuesday, January 19, 2021

NQV Media bounces back with new compilation of gay shorts, THE MALE GAZE: HIDE AND SEEK

Five different countries are represented in the excellent new group of GLBT short features from NQV Media, THE MALE GAZE: HIDE AND SEEK -- in which the "closet" figures ever so strongly in all but one of the films. (In that one, it is pretty much laughed at and refused even so much as a discussion.) 

This is yet another grouping of smart, subtle shorts in which NQV seems to specialze, and it's a nice comeback from the last grouping, which was "all American" and as obvious and one-note as you might expect from that location.

The first of these short films is actually spoken in English (it's a German/Brazilian co-production), and it's both charming and refreshing. LOLO, directed by Leandro Goddinho and Paulo Menezes, tackles the idea of too-gay vs heteroflexible, in its tale of rather young schoolkids coming to terms with coming out. This 14-minute charmer ends just at the moment that a further story is about to unfold, but it seems the perfect ending for this short, nonetheless.

is among the darkest of the NQV shorts I've so far seen, as its Italian director Lorenzo Caproni details in just 15 minutes what happens when old flames Luca and Christian meet again after some years have passed. Bondage, S&M, and graphic sex pile up, and the film proves as ugly and sad as Lolo was appealing and sweet. Unfortunately it is probably a bit more believable, as well.

In Portuguese from Brazilian director Paulo Roberto, the titular character STANLEY is one we never see. What we do view are two hunky young men and their closet/beard female who take off on a motorcycle for a lakeside trip during which she falls asleep and the two guys have hot sex. TrustMovies must admit that the early scenes of plucking fowl did not fully integrate for him with the rest of the film. Still, the use of suggestion, the mix of memory and present moment and the realistic performances go far in making this 20-minute movie work surprisingly well.

Slovakia represents Eastern Europe in this compilation, but director David Benedek's IF ONLY YOU WERE MINE seems to me to be the least of this lot. Beautifully shot and well acted, its story, however, has been told so many times already that there's not much new to explore here, as a young man's first love turns out to a player and a user. Soap opera-like, the film also reduces the poor, smitten young woman who clearly cares about our hero to, as usual in far too many gay films, near-nothing status.  

In the London-set NO STRINGS, another theme we've seen quite a bit in both straight and gay romances -- the hook-up that just might turn into something more --  is given a most interesting workout via the pertinent and sometimes succulent details we learn about the two men involved, one from Wales, the other from Ireland. Director Eoin Maher draws wonderful performances from his two leads, and visually his 23-minute film is consistently alive and a pleasure to view.

The Male Gaze: Hide and Seek
makes its debut from NQV Media this Friday, January 22 -- available worldwide on Amazon Prime Video and Vimeo. Click here to view the trailer, and here to learn more information.

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