Sunday, May 2, 2021

Peccadillo Pictures' latest compilation of gay shorts, BOYS ON FILM 21: BEAUTIFUL SECRET

After giving quite a batch of review time to NQV Media and its selections of short gay-themed movies, it seemed only fair that TrustMovies looked elsewhere into the GLBT distribution field. Sure enough, up popped a company called Peccadillo Pictures and its most recent grouping of international gay short films entitled BOYS ON FILM 21: BEAUTIFUL SECRET. This lengthy moniker suggests that there may have been even earlier renditions of Boys on Film, and yes: 20 of these actually pre-date the current release, beginning back in 2009.

The current films arrive from a half dozen countries, though the majority come via Great Britain (English language subtitles are provided as needed) and run the gamut -- not just of countries but of themes, genres and emotions -- and while the quality may vary a bit, it never dips below the acceptable level and is in general very good.

Beautiful Secret
leads off with the utterly winning MEMOIRS OF A GEEZA (UK), in which director Theo James Krekis, in just four minutes flat (including credits) gives us the verbal and visual history of a young gay man at a fabulous, furious speed. "Perception's a funny thing, ain't it?" will take on wonderful new meaning by the end of this little delight.

(UK, 30 mins) is set in the Berlin of 1933, as Hitler youth, along with Hitler elders, threaten a gay cabaret and its aging songstress owner in a kind of "last dance" before the shit hits the fan. Directed by Joe Morris, the film may seem somewhat been there/done that for those of us in the older generation. Still, it's nicely filmed written and acted by a game cast. 

From Canada comes, MY DAD WORKS THE NIGHT SHIFT, a 14-minutes movie directed by  Zachary Ayotte.  A coming-out tale complete with swimming pool, locker room and a not-quite pick-up, this one features the rather memorable line, "Hey, Dad -- how long is seven inches?" It also offers a nicely surprising finish. 

I suspect Jean Genet would have creamed his shorts, had he been able to view L'HOMME JETÉE (Switzerland, 21 mins), directed by Loïc Hobi. Here we have sailors, sex, gay guys, abusive fighting and lots of longing, as Theo, our hero, gloms onto Giuseppe and hopes to follow him out to sea. Easier said than done -- but full of  the requisite angst and taboo. 

Angst is also front and center in MY SWEET PRINCE (UK, 12 mins), as director Jason Bradbury has his hot-looking young hero fret no end about his would-be love (who may have no idea that he's the object of such lust). Set on the Isle of Wight near the turn of this new century, video comes up against fiction in ways not always that deciperhable for this viewer, at least. 

In DUNGAREES (UK, 5 mins), director Abel Rubinstein gves us a very short film that deals with two boys, a dildo, and acceptance of gay identity. 

The lightest and closest to maybe conventional comedy comes with director Sam Peter Jackson's charming coming-out-abroad-themed CLOTHES & BLOW (a US/UK co-production, 23 mins), in which a young American man making his living doing voice-overs in London gets a surprise visit from both his mom and his sister. Among the many wittty gems here, perhaps the funniest involves the particular DVDs our hero's sex partner must play to help mask the sound of his very loud lovemaking. 

Romania proves the surprising source of one of the best of this lot, A NORMAL GUY (14 mins), in which director George Dogaru tells the tale of a cute gay guy who lives with his straight brother and bro's girlfriend, and the night he gets particularly lucky bringing home a very hot number from a local club. This one also boasts the most original full-frontal nude scene you'll have seen. Fun -- and then some.

(Australia, 9 mins) concludes the compilation, as directors Pierce Hadjincola & Sinclar Suhood give us a closeted teen whose mother is not as welcoming as he or we might like. Overall, there's enough variety and talent here to make this anthology worth a viewing (or, in the case of some of these shorts, maybe two).

From Peccadillo Pictures and, in its entirety, running two hours and 14 minutes, Boys on Film 21: Beautiful Secret is available now here in the USA via digital streaming on Amazon. Click here for further information.

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