Boys Feels: Stand By Me is now available to rent, stream or buy on Prime Video, Vimeo or Peccadillo Pod.
NQV Media’s Boys Feels series has brought us some of the most interesting, diverse and extraordinary short films exploring the male teenage experience. Now it’s back with Boys Feels: Stand By Me, six outstanding short films exploring the need for a companion, friend or brother when the pressures of adolescence descend. All six of the short films selected shine in their complex exploration of love, support, escape, belonging and isolation. Here we are taken from a classroom where care is in short supply to a brother desperately trying to reconnect with his sibling and a teenage outsider longing for planetary escape.
Opening the collection is IT WAS DARK (Il faisait noir) directed by Miwako van Weyenberg. Nicolas and Victor are twins who spend all their time together, playing with their remote control cars while sharing their dreams, hopes and fears. But for Nicolas, school is a struggle, especially literacy, and despite his brother’s support, the classroom is a place of anxiety and fear. Nicolas’ teacher doesn’t help, as she puts him on the spot in lessons while the other children snicker in the background. But as events spiral out of control, can Victor help his twin? Or is it already too late?
IT WAS DARK ©NQV MEDIA.
Miwako van Weyenberg’s delicate eighteen-minute story beautifully captures the anxieties of the classroom and the fear generated by teachers who ignore the emotional harm of their actions. But it is the performances of young Robbe De Laet (Victor) and Wouter De Laet (Nicolas) that provide the power, as Weyenberg unpicks themes of educational failure, parental denial and a brotherly love torn by a failed system.
The second film in the Boys Feels: Stand By Me collection is SUSPENDU, directed by Elie Grappe. In the silence of a dance conservatory as the sun begins to rise, we meet a young dancer pushing his body to the limit as he practices in the dark. But bodies are flawed, and as the dance conservatory comes to life, he falls, his ankle twisting with pain. The boy knows he is injured and understands he has limited movement, but this is exam day, and he has to be perfect no matter what.
Director Elie Grappe builds on his experience at the Conservatory of Lyon in exploring the teenage desire for success, even if it pushes the limits of our bodies and psychological safety. As we watch one young man attempt to rise above the injury that torments him, his classmates and dance partner look on, fixated on their own success rather than the boy struggling before them.
READ MORE: BOYS FEELS: I LOVE TROUBLE
Next, we travel to Taiwan for KEEP GOING (一直騎呀一直騎), directed by Ya-Yu Lin. In this tale of two young brothers who love baseball, Lin offers us a sublime story of brotherly love as one boy attempts to navigate first love while the other wants to impress his friends with a signed baseball that both brothers hold dear. Ya-Yu Lin’s beautiful exploration of brotherhood shines through the performances of Tseng-Wei Wang and Zhi-Xuan Wu as themes of separation, love and hero worship find a delicate and stunning voice.
Themes of brotherly love, separation and hero worship also find a voice in HEADBUTT, directed by Daan Bunnik. Here we meet Tobias as he navigates his older brother’s mood swings and detachment from family life. All Tobias wants is the brother who once played games with him and laughed and joked around, but instead, he is greeted by a young man who wants nothing but to escape. Daan Bunnik perfectly encapsulates the moment our sibling/s separate from us and the pain left behind as a younger brother or sister attempts to work out ‘what went wrong.’ Tobias doesn’t yet realise that he, too, will soon reach this transition, but for now, all he wants is the once close relationship with his big brother that now feels like it’s slipping away.
HEADBUTT ©NQV MEDIA
Our penultimate film in the Boys Feels: Stand By Me collection explores a younger brother’s realisation that his older brother’s life is far more complex than he initially thought. OUT OF THE BLUE (Ud af det blå), directed by Mathias Broe, is the story of a younger brother’s awakening to the realities of his older brother’s life. After waiting hours in the cold, young Mads is finally picked up by his older brother Anders in his prized car. But before they get home, a quick pitstop will reveal Anders’ real life. Broe carefully lifts the curtain on Anders’ activities while beautifully exploring the sense of uncertainty Mads feels about his brother’s chosen path. But will Mads opt to walk down the same road or choose a different route?
Our collection closes with MARS COLONY, directed by Noël Fuzellier, a complex genre-defying exploration of the need for escape and rebirth. Sixteen-year-old Logan is lost and alone, his school life miserable, his anger uncontrollable and his desire for freedom all-encompassing. Logan’s only escape lies in his love of science fiction, as he dreams of being one of the first humans to set foot on Mars. But Mars is far, far away from his alcoholic father, dying grandfather and loving young brother. However, when a mysterious man appears, claiming to be his future self, Logan is pulled into a secret mission that holds an unexpected and painful bite. Fuzellier’s short film is a stunning and powerful exploration of a misunderstood boy whose only hope is an escape from reality and a dream of something new.
MARS COLONY ©NQV MEDIA
READ MORE: BOYS FEELS: HIGH TIDE
Boys Feels: Stand By Me offers us six outstanding short films exploring the need for a companion, friend or brother when the pressures of adolescence descend.