JWR Articles: Film/DVD - New Queer Visions: Right Beside You (Directors: Samuel Montes de Oca León, François Barbier, Maria Nunes, Joe Morris, Claire Zhou) - August 31, 2020

New Queer Visions: Right Beside You

4.5 4.5
95 min.

A quintet of short films that probe the world of lavender

My Mother’s Lovers
21 minutes, Mexico
Samuel Montes de Oca León
Four and one-half stars

“Your only friend”

Here’s a love triangle that is doomed to oblivion.

César (done up convincingly, the wonderfully boyish, yet intense, César Acosta) has a huge crush on his classmate and frequent sleepover buddy, Pablo (Alonso Esponda brings his good-looking physique and compelling understatement to great effect in the “go-between role”).

César’s mom, Luisa (subtly rendered by Sandra Burgos), seems to have a number of bedmates, but remains alone. The allure of the available, older woman lights up Pablo’s libido to devastating effect for his only friend.

How could it end well when the smitten César evokes smiles and camaraderie from his ambitious pal (”I can be anything”), then forced to settle for mussed-up hair and a shoulder pat instead of a roll in the hay that could never happen.

Unrequited lovers everywhere will empathize with this story of love conquers none. JWR

13 minutes, France
François Barbier
Four stars

What you really want

Here’s a threesome with loads of possibilities. Estelle (Flore Bonaventura) has the obvious hots for self-proclaimed gay man, Sacha (Karim Camara skillfully binds the production together). Ruler of the roost, Garance, (Léa Lounda), quietly serves as beards to both.

After a decidedly one-on-one dance lesson—interruptus by Garance after walking the dog—metaphors everywhere, the trio head out to the dance floor for a night that abruptly ends when Sacha punches out an unworthy “Want to suck my dick?” unkempt (Sacha tells him so, leading to the violence) thug.

Then it’s beddy-bye’s, with Sacha gamely sporting his Superman briefs (see metaphors above), while Estelle has visions of getting into them. Sequel, anyone? JWR

Only What You Need to Know About Me
11 minutes, Brazil
Maria Nunes
Three and one-half stars

Semi-love at first crash

Hooking up at a skateboard park is not a common narrative theme. But in this instance, every hill, valley and collision has a hidden back-story that it falls to viewers to unravel—or not.

Wonderfully freckled Laura (perhaps her name) literally (or purposely…) bumps into Fazbaio (Aleff Restor) on his turf. More than two bus rides away, the unlikely couple’s expressions (from selfie to ultimate stare-down speak far louder than words).

The funky score—notably during the Rap/Rhyme Battle, is the musical icing on this curious relationship cake. JWR

24 minutes, UK
Joe Morris
Three and one-half stars

But should we have come?

Hooking up at a skateboard park is not a common narrative theme. But in this instance, every hill, valley and collision has a hidden back-story that it falls to viewers to unravel—or not.

Here’s a very sad tale of Tat (compelling rendered by Luke Dunsmore). Sporting a “Dad” tattoo on his neck, the young man fears going home to face the wrath of his bully stepfather. Mom does her best, but can only offer a few pounds rather than risk her own “security” and that of their newborn infant.

Semi-boyfriend Jack (Connor Ryan needs a bit more depth to convince of his fence-sitting ways), toys with heroin, drops his pants on demand but cannot begin to return the affection that Tat expresses through thick and ugly thin.

Finally, the seaside waves offer more comfort than promises broken. JWR

Stille Dorst (High Tide)
22 minutes, Netherlands
Claire Zhou
Four and one-half stars

“Can you hear the peace?”

When your life, seemingly, falls apart because you finally come to terms with who you are and abandon the masquerade, a quiet getaway is most certainly in order to deal with your apparent truth: “Pappa is looking for a new home…”

Tarik, (stoically rendered by Mouad Benchaib) finds a wonderfully secluded spot only to realize that his “host,” Jonas (a marvellously nuanced performance from Joshua Albano) craves the company of men as well.

From walks in the countryside (eyes wide closed) to poetry co-recitals with Jonas , aka “The Shakespeare jerking off,” and Tarik ”I drown in my own deceit,” the two men finally find comfort in each other’s arms and their shirts.

If only the transitions of self were all so easy! JWR

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