The Male Gaze: Fleeting Glances is available to rent or buy now on Amazon, Peccadillo Pod and Vimeo.
Our lives are full of random moments, meetings and connections that shape our worldviews, hopes and desires. Sometimes these moments are painful, sharp and life-changing, and sometimes they are sweet, joyous and celebratory, but whichever form they take, they are unavoidable as we walk through life. Short films have long explored these brief moments, offering a window into a character’s life that briefly opens wide before shutting.
Our collection opens with The First Time (La prima volta), directed by Lorenzo Caproni. Here we find a young man cruising at a local park, desperately seeking someone to connect with for his first male sexual experience. It’s not long before he catches someone’s eye, and the two men make their way to a public toilet. But while for one man, this is a mere frivolity to pass the time, for the other, it’s a life-changing experience that ends all too quickly. Here Caproni explores the differing expectations of random sexual encounters and the fact that they can be a transformational experience that is misunderstood and undervalued.
Next up is Kiss Me, directed by Johnny Doov. As Adam prepares for a late-night hookup with Shay, the hot and steamy prospect of sex is soon clouded by something missing; kissing. Adam tries to rectify this, but for Shay, kissing is off-bounds, leading to a quick separation before anything gets started. Here Doov explores just how messy and uncomfortable sex can be when two people meet only to fall apart due to likes and dislikes in a tale, which more than a few of us will relate to.
Have you ever looked at someone and wondered, what is your story? In truth, we all make quick judgements daily about the people we meet without ever knowing their stories. This is even more evident when we discuss those fleeing persecution in small dinghies or boats as they strive for a life of freedom and hope. The press likes to label these individuals “economic migrants”, never once asking the story of their life. This creates a society where people are seen as problems that need to be solved rather than humans that need to be loved. Therefore films like Nidhal, directed by Bassem Ben Brahim, have never been more critical. Here we meet Nidhal, a young gay Tunisian who dared to defend the human rights of queer people on a local radio station back home. But his bravery led to death threats against him and his friends and family, leading him to seek asylum in the Netherlands. In Brahim’s short, he bravely recounts his story – a story that so many carry as they board boats, only to be ignored by our government.
The fourth film in our collection is the beautiful Sparrow, directed by Welby Ings. Here we meet a young boy who believes he can fly, with a pair of mechanical wings fixed to his back. However, the other boys at school taunt his wings and ridicule him at every opportunity; to them, he is weird, a misfit and stupid. But when the boy discovers a long-lost letter revealing the truth about his grandfather’s service in the war, and his mistreatment due to his sexual orientation, the boy finds the confidence to confront his oppressors and metaphorically fly away.
Next up is I Am Mackenzie, directed by Artemis Anastasiadou. For Mackenzie, gender has long been a troubling and confusing world of choices and decisions; after all, Mackenzie loves skateboarding, baggy clothes and beanies, defying stereotypical gender norms. But Mackenzie also holds a hidden attraction to their best mate. The problem is their best mate doesn’t see them as a possible partner, forcing Mackenzie to conform to a gender stereotype to get his attention. However, as things heat up in the back of their dad’s pickup truck, Mackenzie quickly realises they may have made a colossal mistake and added layers of new confusion.
Sometimes we are blind to the reality of a relationship even when it’s staring us in the face. We wear blinkers thinking that things will change, and even when they don’t, we tell ourselves tomorrow will be different. In our fifth film, The Place Between Us (Il posto fra di noi), directed by Lorenzo Caproni, one man finally accepts the reality of his relationship through the lens of a camcorder.
The Male Gaze: Fleeting Glances comes to a close with By the End of the Night (Que la nuit s’achève), directed by Denoal Rouaud. Taxi driver Karim has long felt something is missing in his life, and on picking up a stranger at the end of his shift named Alex, he may have found what that is. But can Karim accept these new feelings? Or will he run?
THE MALE GAZE: SHADOWS ON SKIN
NQV media brings us seven engaging and powerful short films from around the world in another four-star collection of stories.