Boys Feels: Desire in the Dark is available to rent or buy now on Amazon Prime Video and Vimeo On-Demand.
One of the things I admire the most about NQV Media’s short film collections is the bravery of the films selected. Each new edition a superb and challenging set of conversation starters that knit together into broader discussions on life. In NQV’s first ‘Boys Feels‘ collection High Tide we explored adolescence, growing pains and childhood memory. But, for its second outing ‘Boys Feels‘ takes a bold new direction. Its short films wrapped in themes of secrecy, belonging, emotional suppression and desire. The resulting collection bravely taking a mighty leap forward in the complexity of the stories on-screen. And this leap is no better reflected than within the opening two films of Desire in the Dark; Boys (Pojkarna) directed by Isabella Carbonell and Ioana directed by Simon Pfister.
In Boys, we meet Markus; his first few weeks in a youth detention centre full of quiet remorse and uncertainty. However, on meeting Tobbe, Markus finds someone who may be able to see past his crime, as he swims in a sea of inner turmoil. However, will this last, as the full details of Markus’ crime float to the surface? Boys bravely tackles issues many will find uncomfortable, in turn, asking searching questions about the nature of rehabilitation, power and guilt.
In our second film, Ioana, themes of love, pain and sacrifice find an urgent voice; this time through the eyes of a young Romanian rent boy called Adrian. His dangerous and dark life on Zurich’s streets a means to an end, as he saves enough money for his sister to leave Romania and join him in Switzerland. However, in a job where danger lurks around every corner, his sisters need to escape escalating; Adrian takes the ultimate risk. One that will not only place him in mortal danger but threaten everything he has given to secure his sisters future. Ioana is by far the most powerful film of the collection; a haunting story of self-sacrifice in the face of family love and belonging coupled with discussions on power, sex, wealth and prostitution.
The subsequent two films in the collection may not carry the power of Boys and Ioana, but do continue to tackle brave and bold themes of identity and connection. Tomer and Elias delicately unpicks themes of family, identity and jealously through two twin brothers’ eyes. While in Picnic, the changing relationship between a father and son is laid bare during a prison visit where bonds change forever.
The collection closes with Klem Holijanda, directed by Sarah Veltmayer; a delightful and heartfelt tale of brotherly love, belonging and escape. Here, fourteen-year-old Andi and his older brother Florist earn money by selling milk in their small Kosovan village; scraping a living while aiding the families survival. However, when Andi discovers a pornographic picture card in their bedroom, he becomes obsessed with following the link printed on its surface. The problem is Andi doesn’t have a phone he can use. But, in his race to follow the link and find a phone, Andi misses something so much more significant. Veltmayer’s tale of adolescent distraction and desire reminds us all of how singular the young mind can be. The final scenes pulling Andi back into the real world with a loving yet painful jolt.
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