INSIDE OUT 2012 – Boy Scandinavia Program Review (Paolo Kagaoan)

INSIDE OUT 2012 (Toronto)

The Boy Scandinavia program includes:

Baldguy (Skallaman)

Directed by Maria Bock

A Day in the Country (En dag pa landet)

Directed by Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja

Pura Vida

Directed by Anders Hazelius

Tord and Tord (Tord och Tord)

Directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr

XY Anatomy of a Boy

Directed by Mette Carla Albrechtsen

The journey through Boy Scandinavia includes love triangles, boy talk, animation, older men in dresses, and outrageous coming out scenarios, and perfect regional diction. This program has it all. The first movie in this Inside Out short movie program is A Day in the Country, which was already shown during the Sagat screening. But it has a hot sex scene in it so I’m not complaining. Because I’m creepy and I couldn’t find him on iMDb and on the InsideOut page, I found one of the actors – Robert Styrbjorn – on Facebook and Linkedin.

That short is followed by XY Anatomy of a Boy. It has the essence of a conceptual, avant-garde, student film, beginning by showing cubicles occupied by the skinniest Danish young men you’ll ever see. And a ‘medium’ sized one. The cultural divide makes the movie’s setting difficult to figure out. Is this a gym or a tamer version of a bathhouse? Either way, there are bathtubs. The guys, ranging from 18 to 26, are paired up and talk frankly – and without titillation – about their sexual beginnings and ambivalences. The movie ends where it starts, with a bit of loneliness despite these men sharing some emotional times together.

In Tord och Tord, a rabbit, standing upright and dressed in corduroys, accidentally goes into the apartment next door, thinking that it’s his. He realizes that it’s a fox’s apartment, but he realizes that he and he fox might have a lot in common. That doesn’t stop them from going to coffee dates with each other. I was led to believe that the animation is going to give me to a quirky, Fantastic Mr. Fox-y kind of time. It’s more sombre than that, and the voiceover by an older man isn’t helping to elevate the movie’s downer of a mood.

Our male protagonist seeks a vacation in Pura Vida, also the title of this short. He also hopes to alleviate his loneliness by going to a bar. He finds a man there to take to his place but their middle-age means that they’re not as easily sexually excited as younger men might be, thus they try to take it slowly. But despite their adult cautiousness feelings between them surface, and the other man’s life presents tragic boundaries against the two men.

The last is called Skallaman, the Norwegian word for Baldguy, finally informing me from where the term ‘scallywag’ might have come. A man and his wife are waiting for their young, gothy son to come home, only for him to say that he has made out with a short, fat, bald guy. And not only does he say it, he leaves the apartment and goes out on the street to sing it! While his musical celebration continues his mother also sings, this time it’s about social rejection, voicing a heightened, comical version of homophobia. Watching characters burst out into song isn’t always my thing. However, I have the word ‘Skallamann’ stuck in my head for days now so that goes to show how surprisingly better this is than I previously thought.

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