›› Boys Village
a short film by Till Kleinert.
2011 | 22 mins | UK - Germany.
principal players: Benjamin Thorne / Kevin, Andrew McQueen / Alex and Hannah-Rose Jones as Brenda.
Official Synopsis: "The Boys' Village was once a holiday home for coalminers' sons, boasting a pool, sports yards and even a chapel of its own. Now, not much remains of its former glory, with shattered glass and debris all over the place; graffiti on the walls. There are countless trap falls and opportunities for injury. This is a parent's nightmare and yet it can be heaven on earth for a certain kind of child. It more-or-less is for Kevin. He has been eleven-years-old for quite some time now. Has it been years or decades?"
One of the joys of gay cinema is when the medium is applied to a genre seldom seen on the rainbow screen and this joint UK / German production is a glowing testament to that. Written and directed by Till Kleinert who was awarded the coveted IRIS Prize of 2008 for his superbly staged short film Cowboy, it focuses on the life of a young boy who appears as abandoned, as the disused holiday complex where he resides. Talking to himself, if not to his patched up teddy bear, his loneliness is broken upon the arrival of a group of teenage boys out for fun and one teen in particular who later returns with his girlfriend for some adolescent hanky-panky. Only she's not the only one attracted to his good looks.
A decidedly eerie tale of a young boy's sexual awakening, in Boys Village.
Produced in collaboration with the IRIS Prize International Film Festival and filmed within the derelict St Athan Boys Village in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, here we find Kleinert wonderfully set the tone of his unsettling piece; from a bright and breezy start, that of a reflection of the playful mind of the young boy, to scenes that turn increasingly dark as the creepy element of the narrative comes into play and here cue Conrad Oleak's achingly atmospheric score.
For this is a drama at heart and one that has a lot going for it, thanks in no small part to the beautifully natural performances from leads Benjamin Thorne as Kevin and Andrew McQueen as the object of his adoration. Yet to say more would and as ever be a spoiler, even if numerous clues are scattered along its cinematic path, not least being the style of the clothing employed. Sharply edited and enhanced by Martin Hanslmayr's solid cinematography, who here wisely opted for the 16mm film format to it has to be said, striking effect. And whilst it does take a while to get there, this decidedly eerie tale of a young boy's sexual awakening concludes with a guaranteed payoff, in the closing act.
Gay Visibility - covert.
Nudity - none.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.