New Queer Visions: The Last Days of Innocence is available now on Amazon Prime, Peccadillo Pod and Vimeo On-Demand.
We all have times in our childhood and teens when the reality of the adult world suddenly invades our sense of security or wonder. These moments are seared into memory; some are exciting, and others are painful or confusing. These memories often carry even more significance for those who grew up knowing they were different.
Looking back, several memories stand out for me; the first of these was my first encounter with death. I was five or six when my grandmother died in hospital, and to this day, I remember the colour of the hospital walls, the furniture in the family waiting room and the smell of the corridors. This lasting memory is neither sad nor painful, but it found an everlasting place in my mind due to the events surrounding it. Second is my first crush and my first experience of homophobia, as I sat silently, knowing that I was one of those dirty queers the boys in school were talking about.
READ MORE: THE FRENCH BOYS
New Queer Visions: The End of Innocence brings us a selection of shorts that explore the moments that help define our view of the world and ourselves. Some of these occur in childhood, while others happen in the haze of teenage life. But all have the power to last forever in our minds while helping to define the adult we become.
Our collection opens with Ruins, directed by Benoît Duvette. Deep in the woods, two boys come to terms with their secret relationship in a mystery that never allows us to gain a complete picture of the events leading up to this short story of escape, love and sex. While one boy runs through the trees, desperately attempting to escape those following him with torches, the other stands semi-naked, drinking an unknown concoction. Meanwhile, flashbacks take us to the ivy-covered car, where they cemented their relationship. Here Duvette explores themes of forbidden love, sex and escape in a short story that remains a beautiful enigma from start to finish.
Aline – New Queer Visions: The End of Innocence
Themes of first love also surround our second film Aline, directed by Simon Guélat. In a remote alpine ski town, we meet Alban, a young person desperate to find love. But in the small town, they call home Alban doesn’t quite fit in, their sexuality, clothes and long blonde hair defying the excepted gender roles of their peer group. However, when Alban meets a young groundsman called Julian, it appears love may have finally come knocking, their secretive affair mirroring the romantic fiction Alban is reading. But sometimes, things are kept secret for a reason, and as Alban soon discovers, first love and sex can be painful and disappointing.
Here’s a question for you, where does homophobia begin? After all, we are not born with hate in our hearts; it’s a learnt behaviour that often comes from our family, community or friends. In our third film, Snake (Змија), directed by Andrey Volkashin, the power of friendship, community and family in defining social norms sits centre stage. In a small Macedonian village, nine-year-old Mario spends his days joyously playing in the countryside with his friends. But when Mario meets a twenty-something gay neighbour, who dresses up as a woman in the comfort of his apartment, his curiosity is sparked. However, when Mario and his friends decide to dress up, his parent’s disapproval changes everything, as Mario realises that some behaviours are strangely unacceptable in his village.
READ MORE: BOYS FEELS: HIGH TIDE
Finally, the most powerful and stunning film in our collection explores challenging themes of abuse, sexual awakening and brotherly love in The Touching (Dotýkání), directed by Dominik György. György’s film tackles themes many films fear to touch as we meet young David and his older brother Marek. Behind the closed doors of their shared bedroom, David and Marek’s relationship has gone far beyond the usual confines of brotherly love as they sexually experiment with each other. The result has seen David become possessive and demanding of his brother’s attention. But, knowing he has crossed the line, Marek decides to slowly distance himself from his brother while wooing a girl he likes at school. However, this separation is confusing and painful for David, leading to devastating results. György’s film is visually stunning and incredibly brave in exploring the cycle of abuse and the emotional turmoil of silence.
New Queer Visions: The End of Innocence reminds us of those moments when childhood wonder or adolescent invulnerability was invaded by the reality of the adult world around us. The result is a potent mix of outstanding short films embedded in themes of first love, fear, confusion and rebellion as worlds collide and the trajectory of a series of young lives is changed forever, without warning.
The Touching (Dotýkání) – New Queer Visions: The End of Innocence
New Queer Visions: The Last Days of Innocence
New Queer Visions: The End of Innocence reminds us of all of those moments when childhood wonder or adolescent invulnerability were invaded by the reality of the adult world around us.