JWR Articles: Film/DVD - The Swedish Boys (Directors: Jerry Carlsson, Julija Green, Eric Ernerstedt, Nathalie Álvarez, Alexandra Litén, Nils Janlert, Valentina Chamorro, Elin Övergaard) - March 19, 2021

The Swedish Boys

4 4

A varied collection that includes a few third wheels

Coming Out
2011, 5 minutes
Jerry Carlsson
Four stars


Told through the intriguing voiceover of the mind, Joel (convincingly portrayed by Charlie Gustafsson), wrestles with his thoughts, emotions and presumed expectations (clearly understandable as one who has been there), of announcing his homosexuality to his parents. “Will he, won’t he?” We await the feature sequel. JWR

2017, 35 minutes
Julija Green, Eric Ernerstedt
Three stars

Not Entirely Gay

Here’s a promising take on a heterosexual couple (Polly—played with appropriate sultriness by Green; and Nicholas—Viktor Åkerblom is dutifully naive), whose relationship ended when Nico was forever smitten with Jacob (readily going both ways is Ernerstedt).

The film centres around the return of Polly (invited) to the gay couple’s nest—so mature, so “no bad feelings”!

But before you can “libido”, Jacob takes a figurative and literal rise to his current boyfriend’s ex, whether in the pool, the attic, then finally “caught” in a club. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander takes on yet another meaning.

By journey’s end, it is hard to empathise with any of the tangled trio. Perhaps a viewing by the entire artistic trust of Bertolucci’s’ The Dreameers (cross-reference below) might have inspired a more convincing, nuanced result. JWR

2015, 11 minutes
Nathalie Álvarez
Four stars

Brotherly Love

When do we know we are gay? For the precocious, pre-pubescent Filip (charmingly done by Josef Waldfogel), the extended family around him provides very important cues. The shared love of kicking a soccer ball binds the girl-wary boy with his much-older sibling, Sebastian (August Segerholm is a model of discretion and a camera’s delight) and his unexpected boyfriend, Stor (played with sensitivity and fun by Simon Reithner).

When the impressionable child surreptitiously spies the loving kisses between the more-than-just friends teens, his course is set.

If only understanding who we really are could be so simple at such an early age. JWR

No Brakes (När bromsvajern släpper)
2008, 12 minutes
Alexandra Litén
Four and one half stars

The eyes have it

This “vintage” (2008) study of a tentative threesome who ride bikes into their uncertain lives, is remarkable for Litén’s ability to say more with “looks”—especially the eyes—from her cast than any amount of dialogue ever could.

Anton (sultry Peter Nyberg) seems taken with Julie (radiant Moa Hörngren) even as Joha (appropriately confused Pär Kunze) gradually comes to understand when the surfacing of pushed-away feelings will finally let one and all discover what they really always knew.

Much comfort, hope and courage for those, even now, who are struggling with themselves. JWR

The Memory of You (Minnet av dig)
2013, 7 minutes
Elin Övergaard
Four stars

“True Love”

The awkward triangles continue in this set featuring now-married-with-children Adam (Emil Jonsson), stumbling across an art gallery opening of his former lover, Erik (Mikael Bergsten), while preparing to have a wonderful dinner with his ever-patient wife, Anna (Kersten Gandler). (Not coincidentally, Michelangelo’s David is the backdrop for the “happy” couple’s table.)

Feigning a forgotten wallet, Adam leaves the current love of his life in order to surreptitiously check in on his former paramour.

Binding it all together is “True Love” Erik’s portrait of the former lovers (wonderfully abstract) now up for display and sale.

The long-lost lovers’ emotions are palpable, but clearly the notion of “you can’t go back” rules the day.

Sadly, it’s a scenario that plays out all over of the planet daily. JWR

Distances (Bortom)
2014, 18 minutes
Valentina Chamorro
Four stars

Sign of their times

Mother-son relationships can be challenging. In this case Eva (stoically portrayed by Monica Albornoz), has been missing in action while deaf David (Gabriel Nal turns in a memorable performance) has found true love with Simon (an empathetic take on their situation is readily provided by Robert Ingvarsson)—all three, to varying degrees, are fluent in ASL.

Eva’s return after a long absence seems hopeful at first, until her own “needs”, once again trump those of her angry prodigy.

Thanks- goodness for the closing Tik Tok-like dances of two girls who might well remind one and all to move on and enjoy what music is left to play.

“Speak hands for me”, on yet another different level. JWR

Stockholm Daybreak (Gryning)
2013, 7 minutes
Elin Övergaard
Four stars

Love at first fright

In an extended balcony scene (what fun for Love—David Arnesen—to piss on the streets far below under the very attentive eye of Axel—Tom Ljungman …), two, morning-after-the-bar young men wonder about their lives without women (the unseen Astrid and Stina, to be precise).

A near moment of suicide leads to a physical struggle, then the first wanted kiss (by both, despite “we’re not fags”), gives this wee coming of age tale, a far happier ending than the other famous balcony play, Romeo and Juliet. JWR


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