Boys Feels: High Tide is available to stream and buy on Amazon Prime Video and Vimeo from 15 January 2021.
By the time we reach mid-life, our minds are an ocean of experiences; some good, some bad, some fun and some scary. These powerful memories and life-affirming experiences build up over time, the sea of our mind fed by a series of rivers, streams and creeks that flow through our life right from birth. And if you close your eyes, just for a second, most of you will be able to recall experiences in childhood where these rivers and streams combined to create memorable moments, each one etched into the creation of your personality, loves, dislikes or fears. For some of us, these may be the first delicate yet sharp feelings of love, while for others, their first win in a sports match or first experience of death may hold court.
But, whatever experiences come to mind when thinking back to the building blocks of you, one thing remains certain. It is how we choose to use these memories that remains critical throughout our lives. No matter whether they are good, bad, joyous or sad in construct. This reflection on the building blocks of experience finds voice in NQV media’s latest short films collection. With Boys Feels: High Tide, both delicate, powerful, and thought-provoking in equal measure. With four stunning European films taking us back to the emotional development of childhood. Where the stream of life became rivers, and those rivers formed the ocean of the individual.
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First in the collection is Ocean, directed by Emmanuel Laborie. It’s the summer of 1979, and 10-year-old Jean is heading to the coast with his parents and younger brother for a relaxing break. However, for Jean, the holiday is invaded by an unseen force, the realisation that his mum and dad may no longer be as happy and harmonious as he once thought. His young mind churning as he tries to navigate the new emotions he keeps silently locked away. Meanwhile, his younger brother remains oblivious to his newfound fear as emotions run high. But, when tragedy strikes at the beach, Jean’s fears are replaced by more profound questions of mortality. With his concerns for his own family fading, as he realises just how delicate life can be.
Ocean delicately unpicks the need for security and safety in childhood. While at the same time exploring the confusion of sudden death. In a short film where Jean’s concerns about his security slowly fade into the shadows. Upon realising that he is both loved and cherished by his parents, even if they no longer feel the same about each other.
Next up, we have Go Daan Go! Directed by Mari Sanders. Nine-year-old Daan loves to swim and is also rather talented at it. But, as Daan gains a much sought after place on the school swimming team, tensions mount at home. The reason only becoming apparent when Daan finds a collection of his mother’s old swimming medals in the attic. Her career in swimming, cut short by a genetic heart defect. His mum’s consent, conditional on him passing a full medical check, as she lives out her past fears and disappointment through her son. But, Daan wants to swim, and as a result, finds himself caught in the middle of a parental rift. With one parent fearful of his newfound passion, while the other encourages him from the sidelines.
Mari Sanders tale of parental love and concern also speaks to the need for self-determination as children grow. The challenges of protection and growth, brought to the surface as one young boy strives for something he can own. But even deeper than this, Go Daan Go! reflects the challenges of allowing children to make their own choices as they grow, even if these clash with parental experience.
For every one of us, sex, bodily change, and hormones eventually invade the security of childhood. This change can be sudden, scary, confusing and exciting as a new world opens up fraught with risk, pleasure and emotion. These memories often linger in the mind long into adulthood, framing our relationships, desires, and need for human connection. It is within this world of sexual discovery that the final two films of Boys Feels: High Tide find their voice. Both exploring the first burst of sexual discovery from two distinct angles.
In The Boy in the Ocean, directed by Friedrich Tiedtke, the onset of bodily change and the emotions attached are delicately explored. With 12-year-old Mathias discovering his body for the first time while on a sailing holiday with his parents. His newfound feelings and desires clashing with parents who still treat him as a child. While at the same time, an older teenage girl captures his attention on dry land. But, as Mathias tries to navigate a whole host of new urges, desires and emotions, his understanding of sex, jealously, and love remains obscure. His newfound pleasures, wrapped in insecurity, trepidation and a need for independence.
Tiedtke’s short film is beautiful and striking in its delicate exploration of one boy’s sexual awakening. With young Mathias surrounded by emotions, he cannot yet process. The window of sexual discovery provided, reflecting the journey all men take as the cocoon of boyhood is breached, only for the teenager to emerge.
The Boy in the Ocean
Meanwhile, in the final film of the collection Beach Boy, director Hannes Hirsch explores relationships, infatuation and emerging confidence. Young Dimi is spending his summer vacation camping with his older brother, Steffen, by the Baltic Sea. Dimi is more than aware of his good looks but insecure in connecting with the young women he meets. His initial attempts at seduction are often clumsy and aloof as he tries to build his interpersonal repertoire. But, when Dimi meets two girls outside the camp, he finds himself enamoured and fascinated by the older Isabelle. The only problem is she is also the new girlfriend of his older brother. Something Dimi only discovers as they return to the campsite together, his racing heart suddenly and abruptly silenced by the revelation.
However, Dimi has no intention of letting his infatuation for Isabelle wain, embarking on a mission to woo her at any cost. His clumsy technique finally finding solid ground, as Isabelle allows him to find new avenues and pathways to build his communication. While at the same time remaining faithful to his older brother.
Hirsch is unafraid to explore the jealousy, obsession and clumsiness of teenage relationships in Beach Boy. Here, Dimi’s behaviour is self-centred, knowing and yet insecure. His ability to find a voice in relationships initially hampered by a man’s body and a boy’s emotions. In a short film that understands the no-mans-land of teenage life. Where lust, desire, communication and love are often hidden under a cloak of insecurity.
Coming soon, Girls Feels: Into the Blue – Watch this space for more
Boys Feels: High Tide is available via Vimeo and Amazon from 15 January
Check out more Short Films here
This post was brought to you in partnership with our friends at NQV media.