Boy Shorts 4 Program. This program included six short films:
Directed by Evan Roberts
Directed by Tamer Ruggli
Directed by Bretten Hannam
Directed by Nathan Cirino
Teens Like Phil
Directed by Dominic Haxton and David Rosler
Directed by Rikhil Bahadur
Boy Shorts 4 aims to be about discovery, of young men thinking about their love for other young men. Finding this out gives me ambivalence. Despite knowing that the screen is making me watch who are supposed to be my younger self I also feel like I’m watching young men think about and simulate sexual acts, which makes me slightly uncomfortable for obvious reasons. But as one short movie followed another, it was voyeurism that was the screening’s agenda, as they could have all fit within one heading – that young gay boys are surrounded by male jerks. And in bringing that message forth, they’re all of equal artistic merit.
Subheading one – my first boy crush is a jerk. Examples – Cappuccino, where young Jeremie thinks about hooking up with his darker, more sexually confident doppelganger. This fantasy slowly comes into a fruitful night, until the crush object kicks him out of his downtown apartment. Jeremie also has a voluptuous and oblivious mother who has to deal with her own sexual rejections. Teens Like Phil, where digital filmmaking clashes with avant-garde editing, beginning with a crowd of white-clad boys chasing the titular Phil. He is a gay private high school student, desiring his lover turned bully, who has his own familial sexual traumas.
Subheading two – I found out that my older brother is gay and he, by default, ruins my life. Examples – Deep End, set in a local pool in Nova Scotia, and a middle school where a boy sees the word ‘fag’ on his locker because his brother is gay. Time Out, set in an International school populated by upwardly mobile Indian teens who speak in English and the girls are as outspoken as the boys, thus reminds me of home. One of the students finds his older brother, who is a star in the basketball team, in bed with his teammates. It’s the least hostile short.
Subheading three – I have an unrequited love with an older man, but not too old. Examples. Lament, or Lamuria in Portuguese, is set in a mostly white private school in Brazil, where a boy falls in love with his poetry teacher. He sets an appointment with the teacher, only to find him in an argument with his girlfriend, throwing his phone violently on the floor. The latter act is unthinkable unless you’re a member of the one percent. 33 Teeth is where a jogger catches the eye of a teenage boy, who forsakes household chores to spy on the former. The jogger has a homophobic best friend. It’s the sweetest of the bittersweet, ending with the boy gushing but that’s also because there’s still the distance between the two of them.
Other elements that some of these movies have in common are vandalism, private schools, foreign countries, and overbearing mothers. There’s something cushion-y about these scenarios. It’s as if these diverse storytellers use class, race, and family to offset their protagonists’ dramatic moments, taking their stories’ pathos from tragedy and giving their characters actual solutions for them to be able to cherish the love that they once had.