The Male Gaze: Strikers and Defenders is available from 31st July on Amazon Prime Video and Vimeo
NQV Media is renowned for bringing us some of the best LGBTQ+ short films from around the world in curated collections, and with their brand new release, The Male Gaze: Strikers and Defenders, the world of sports takes centre stage. Here we are offered four superb short film’s exploring themes of coming of age, desire and masculinity, with each short story delving deep into experiences that may start in the locker room but live on far beyond the changing room doors.
Opening the collection is Islands (Inseln) by Ron Jäger, a heartfelt exploration of hidden desire and bullying. Theo is a quiet and withdrawn teenage boy who loves drawing, his emerging sexuality complicated by his love for classmate Linus, with whom he shares a secret and complicated relationship. However, Linus also has a girlfriend and friends who bully Theo in the school changing rooms. But as the ongoing bullying takes its toll, with Theo losing hope in life and love, an unlikely confidant appears – a stern but equally isolated P.E teacher.
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Next, we are taken on a far darker journey with Laurent Lunetta’s Play it Like a Man (Un été viril). When two fifteen-year-old friends ‘Loris’ and ‘Thomas’ find a stream of voyeuristic photos on the phone of their football coach, they immediately believe him to be a paedophile. However, even more disturbing is the fact that the centre of the photos is Loris. In a fit of rage, both boys take the law into their own hands by breaking into the coach’s house, ransacking his property while daubing the walls with the word ‘pédé’. However, did Loris already know about the sexual desires of his coach? And are his actions tied to an abusive relationship that has long held a grip on his life?
In the third film, Colours, masculinity and peer pressure take centre stage on the all-weather pitches of inner-city England. Here British writer/director Peter Lee Scott explores the homophobia and control that comes from dominant leaders in dangerous peer group structures. Adam and Tom have been mates for years, but they now face the ultimate choice in their ongoing friendship following Tom being outed by the oppressive and dominant football captain Mike. But does anyone have what it takes to challenge Mike as events begin to spiral out of control?
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Finally, brotherly love and protection find a voice within Camille Melvil and Fabien Cavacas’ Through the Fields (Passer Les Champs), a beautiful journey into safety and love as a local football coach Lucas tries to navigate the needs of his gay younger brother Théo. Here Théo’s sexuality is still hidden from their parents. However, when Théo expresses his desire to embark on his first sexual experience, Lucas steps in to protect him, leading both brothers into a night of revelations and decisions that further build their love bonds.
Directors: Fabien Cavacas, Ron Jäger, Laurent Lunetta, Camille Melvil, Peter Lee Scott
Cast Includes: Harry Jarvis, Matthieu Lucci, Samuel Theis, Pierre Prieur, Connor Catchpole, Makir Ahmed, Simon Boutin, George Somner, Maxime Taffanel