Friday, June 28, 2013

Worldly Affairs (shorts)

Worldly Affairs” (shorts program)
Friday, June 28, 4:00 pm @ Castro

El acompañante (The Companion), dir. Álvaro Delgado Aparicio L., 2012, Peru, 20 min., in Spanish with English subtitles 
Summer Vacation (Hofesh Gadol • חופש גדול), dir. Tal Granit (טל גרנית) and Sharon Maymon (ושרון מימון), 2012, Israel, 22 min., in Hebrew with English subtitles 
For Dorian, dir. Rodrigo Barriuso, 2012, Canada, 16 min. 
Um Diálogo de Ballet (A Ballet Dialogue), dir. Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon, 2012, Brazil, 8 min., in Portuguese with English subtitles
Maremoto (Seaquake), dir. Daniel Aratangy, 2012, Brazil, 8 min., in Portuguese with English subtitles U.S. première
Fødselsdagen (Happy Birthday), dir. Lasse Nielsen, 2013, Denmark, 24 min., in Danish with English subtitles  (American première)

El acompañante (The Companion) is the story of a young man and an old man in a wheelchair who live together. The program notes tell us that the young man works as a rentboy and the older man is his father, but I saw nothing in the film itself that gave any hint of either of those points. I can tell you that the two of them work on cute little clay figures (pictured, left) that the younger man then tries to sell, and that there is a visceral mutual dislike between the men, but that’s really about it. The film is a slice of mundane life with almost no dialogue, leaving utterly unanswered the fundamental questions: who are these people and why should I care? Definitely not recommended.

El acompañante / The Companion • IMDb page
Iftach (L), Michaela, and Yuval
יובל (מימין), מיכאלה, ויפתח

Summer Vacation (Hofesh Gadol • חופש גדול) is the story of a family (mom Michaela, dad Yuval, and son Einav) on vacation at the beach, who meet Iftach and Gaya, a couple of men staying nearby. Michaela is happy to play hostess, but, despite having only just arrived, Yuval is suddenly in a great hurry to leave at almost any cost. Gaya also makes himself scarce as he begins to sense the awkwardness of the situation. The reason gradually becomes clear, even as the deeper motivations for the main characters become muddier. Well written and well made, Highly recommended.

Summer Vacation / Hofesh Gadol / חופש גדול • IMDb page

Dorian and Oliver Baum
For Dorian is the story of Oliver Baum, a single father, and his son Dorian, a teenage boy with Down syndrome who is slowly but surely growing up. Dorian is obsessed with the weather report, but perhaps not so much with the weather. Dorian is also eager to venture out more in the world, especially with a pal from school. Oliver struggles with his son’s growing up, and also with the thought that his son might be gay. Winner, best Canadian short at the 2013 InsideOut Toronto LGBT film festival. Well done, Highly recommended.

For Dorian • IMDb page

Um Diálogo de Ballet (A Ballet Dialogue) is the story of a young man (Giovanni Rizzo, pictured) and an older man (Lauro Ramalho) who live in high-rise apartment buildings with windows facing one another, waking up one morning. Although they never meet face to face or speak to one another, they communicate by other means. It’s an interesting little vignette, but left me unsatisfied. Recommended.

Um Diálogo de Ballet / A Ballet Dialogue • IMDb page

Maremoto (Seaquake) is the story of two teenage boys, Felipe (Felipe Frazão, left) and Lucas (Bruno Zonzini, right) who head to a quiet beach to surf, only to find that the sea is quiet as well, so they get to talking, leading to a different sort of waves, but the plot boils down a little too close to “I’m gay.” / “No, you’re not!” / The End. Still, it’s an interesting snapshot from a story I’d like to know more about, and it’s reasonably well made, if perhaps not quite gnarly or totally tubular. Recommended.

Maremoto / Seaquake • IMDb page

Fødselsdagen (Happy Birthday) is on one level the reawakening of writer-director Lasse Nielsen from a 35-year hiatus during which he directed only two films, Lek and the Waterboy [in Frameline35’s “Worldly Affairs” shorts program] and 2010’s The Story of Net. Nielsen is best known for his controversial trailblazing 1978 film Du er ikke alene (You Are Not Alone), a love story about a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old at a Danish boys’ boarding school.

Thomas is sure he’s
ready to be old enough.
Fødselsdagen (Happy Birthday) is the story of Thomas (Mathias Hartmann Niclasen, pictured) a 14-year-old boy who chafes at waiting until his 15th birthday (the age of consent in Denmark) to be able legally to have sex. He is especially frustrated by the hunky man next door (Jos Gylling), so close and yet out of reach until Thomas turns 15. While You Are Not Alone and Happy Birthday both push the envelope on the issue of age of consent and childhood sexuality, it is important to note that neither film advocates sex between adults and pre-pubescent children, but rather they illuminate the fact that sexuality isn’t a magic light switch that suddenly flips on when a child reaches a legally designated age. Children are sexual beings from before birth, and the evolution of that sexuality from infancy to adulthood is a gradual fade-in rather than an instantaneous flash-cut. Beautifully done, Highly Recommended.

Fødselsdagen / Happy Birthday • IMDb page

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