Taking us from 1985 to the present day, The Male Gaze is back with a collection of shorts that celebrates the beauty of 16mm and 35mm film. However, far more than just celebrating these newly digitised short films, The Male Gaze: Celluloid Dreams is a stunning time capsule of the gay male experience. Each short gem demonstrates the journey taken in the fight for equality and the barriers faced on the path to change. Here the team at NQV have created a collection that reminds us of our past, and the role film has played in challenging and creating our present. Watching each of these films is like stepping back into the LGBTQ+ film festivals of the past, where short films reigned supreme in reflecting gay male life in the absence of feature productions.
Of course, that does not mean each of these shorts speaks as clearly to us now. But, even in those that now seem dated or confused, one thing stands out: the bravery, creativity and urgent voice of short films in increasing gay representation and challenging social oppression. Here, the short films selected take us on a journey through time, from the clandestine sexual encounters of our youth to the challenging interface between culture, race and sexuality. While at the same time exploring the darkest days of HIV and AIDS and the first rumblings of gay desire and infatuation.
The result is a deep, meaningful and beautiful voyage into the history of gay male on-screen representation. Here, the power of the short form film is celebrated and acknowledged as we explore past themes, many of which remain pertinent in the present, reminding us all that the journey to equality, representation, safety and security is still very much one in progress.
Just Out of Reach – Director Jonathan Wald
As the sun rises, we witness two male bodies emerge from the darkness. The younger of the two attempts to sneak out on the older man he just slept with.
Toto Forever – Director Roberto F. Canuto
A wide-eyed young postman and a gangster in trouble with the mafia find their lives become inexplicably intertwined when a heady affair attracts danger at every turn.
Men Don’t Dry (Οι άντρες δεν κλαίνε) – Director Kyriakos Chatzimichailidis
One stormy winter night, soaking wet 20-year-old Ilias arrives uninvited at Petros’ house. Ilias’ erratic behaviour causes much concern to Petros. He vaguely remembers meeting Ilias one night some years ago, in a gay bar. As the night goes on, unsettling truths come to the fore, and as much as Petros would like to be rid of his guest, some truths will stay with you forever.
Alger la Blanche – Director Cyril Collard
Farid, a teenager of Algerian descent, spends his free time hanging out with the wrong crowds in the suburbs south of Paris while maintaining a secret relationship with illustrator Jean. Both Jean and Farid are unsure about the future of their relationship – Farid wants Jean to move to Algiers with him, but Jean doesn’t want to continue being Farid’s secret. But when Farid becomes embroiled in a police matter, both his passionate private life and conservative family life hurtle towards one another, with explosive results.
Unconfessions (Inconfissões) – Director Ana Galizia
Luiz Roberto Galizia died very young, but he left behind a wealth of personal archives. Thirty years later, his niece Ana Galizia plunges into these archives to follow the traces of this uncle she never met.
Same Difference – Director Harry Richards
Twin brothers Leon and Noel share their parents, their school and their bunk bed. But when Leon becomes interested in Abi and Abi becomes interested in Noel, a love triangle threatens to tear the twins apart – until Noel makes a declaration of his own.
Boychick – Director Glenn Gaylord
In sunny suburbia, a loud-mouthed Jewish mom incessantly nags and humiliates her shy gay teenage son, who she calls her ‘Boychick’. Meanwhile, in the classroom, Boychick can’t stop ogling a hunky classmate. If only Boychick had the courage to face up to his desires. As if by magic, along comes his idol, pop star Ashley Hart, to give him the hip-strutting, hair-flicking confidence he craves.