›› The Male Gaze: Shadows On Skin short films compilation ‹‹

From the good folk at New Queer Visions comes this stunning collection of four gay to the core short films that focus on passionate moments between the boys, when skin touches skin and when memories of sexual encounters linger in the mind long after the shadows of the night give way to the light of the day.

›› Overall Duration - 88 mins | VOD Release Date - 25th February, 2023 ‹‹

›› posted: Friday, 14th April, 2023 ‹‹

›› Offline - Desconexo ‹‹

a short film by Lui Avallos.

2020 | 31 mins | Brazil.

a sensuously sexy short film that poignantly questions the meaning of life.

Dave says:

From writer, director and co-star Lui Avallos comes this sensuously sexy short film that poignantly questions the meaning of life and in particular for those addicted to social media.

It tells the story of Thiago (Júlio Oliveira); a good-looking young man who delights in letting his hands do the talking in an online relationship with Lucas (Avallos), who just happens to be his neighbour, only for the two to have never met each other in person. That is until and by way of a presidential decree that shuts down the Internet nationwide, the two finally meet face-to-face on their joint rooftop and opt to spend the day together at the beach. Or rather, breaking into a luxury beachside apartment, where the two get to know each other and in more ways, than one. Only can their burgeoning relationship continue to grow in real life, when the Internet comes back online?

Intercut with a treasure trove of childhood memories; home video fashion, this voice-over, at times poetic styled work packs more homoerotic imagery into its mini-feature duration, than what you can shake a copy of Physique Pictorial at! Yet at heart, this is a story of opposites; that of two young men brought together by way of being offline for the day and who clearly hold opposing outlooks on life. For Thiago, his world revolves around social media, seemingly unable or perhaps unwilling to seize the day; whilst for Lucas, the budding photographer of the piece and a man who yearns to take photos of the object of his desire, the words "live life" would appear to be his middle name, literally making the most of the opportunities that the day presents him with.

Well-played throughout by the Avallos / Oliveira pairing, this telling short is far more than just an ogglefest of hunks in trunks and at times out of them, given here Avallos has gone out of his way to question the addiction to social media, at the expense of living and moreover experiencing life itself; namely what lies beyond a mobile phone, laptop and internet connection. As for Lucas and whether or not his encounter with Thiago was a day to remember or perhaps forget; well, that would be saying. What can be said is that this is a work that come close-of-play, can only but leave you pondering the delicate balancing act between living your life online in front of a screen, or offline with your friends and family and moreover of appreciating the value of every moment given to you. Carpe diem; indeed.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - from the pubes up | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

›› Hedon ‹‹

a short film by Julian Dieterich.

2019 | 20 mins | Germany.

a decidedly dark tale of sexual encounters in the night.

Dave says:

From writer and director Julian Dieterich comes this decidedly dark tale of sexual encounters in the night.

It focuses on the life of Fynn (Saladin Dellers); a man who works by day at the local swimming pool, only for the night to bring him out on the streets, his mobile ringtone ever signalling another man for him to get his hands on. Clearly up for sex of the S&M variety, his first encounter is a threesome that all but leaves him sexually unfulfilled, unlike his second round where he finds himself in the arms of a far more experienced older man who knows how to give him some of the action he yearns for. Only when Fynn unexpectedly chances upon a young man who he almost ran over earlier on, does cutie Tom (David Hugo Schmitz) really know just what he's letting himself in for, when he gets into the backseat of Fynn's car?

Walking the now familiar ground of the dangers of the anonymous hook-up, here we find Dieterich deliver a sexually realistic, if far from explicit work that's as unsettling, as it's narratively frustrating. That Dieterich is a director who's interested in the tension between conscious and unconscious loss of control, is all but apparent, given the character of Fynn seems unable to keep his inner demons in check, having beckoned Tom to leave knowing what may happen, only for the young man to desire a thrill for the night. That Tom got one is not a spoiler; only for it to be more intense than what he could have ever imagined.

Yet in having pushed the envelope to deliver such a shocking climax to his story, Dieterich leaves you with a glaring gap in the narrative thereafter, making for a cinematic void that's akin to missing a scene and a key one, at that too. All of which makes for a short film that whilst far from an easy watch by any means, is nonetheless well-shot and played throughout. A walk on the dark side of life; goes without saying.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - bare-arsed cheek | Overall - file under ... 3 stars

›› Adán y Esteban ‹‹

a short film by Nicolás Alan Medina and Lucía Rivera López.

2022 | 19 mins | Argentina.

an intimate portrait of the growing bond between two best friends.

Dave says:

With more full frontal nudity to be seen than in a copy of Men magazine; well, not quite, comes this intimate portrait of the growing bond between two best friends from writer and co-director Nicolás Alan Medina.

For this is the story of close friends Nacho (Gabriel Miner) and Tomi (Santiago Leguizamo) who after an evening of heavy drinking finds Nacho the worse for wear. Helping Nacho to get washed and into bed thereafter, the two sleep the night away together. Yet when Nacho starts to get friendly with Tomi in the sober reality of the morning, doth his 'straight friend' protest too much?

And the answer to that is all but obvious, given this is a work that post sex (is that really a spoiler?) finds the two leads naked contemplating their opposing natures, the meaning of life and notably following your impulses by allowing yourself to feel and be who you wish to be. It's a sermon that Nacho delivers to Tomi; namely a man who initially refused Nacho's advances, too afraid of acknowledging his true sexuality, in spite of having aimed many a longing look at his friend during the night.

Nicely played throughout, the real misnomer here is the title, given this is the tale of Nacho and Tomi, as against Adán y Esteban / Adam and Stephen; that is, unless I'm missing something? Whatever way, I dare say that this contemplative two-man play and as much as the dialogue raises many a key point and in particular that of living life for the moment, could well have some nodding off if it wasn't for the copious amount of nudity on display. And in that respect, both men are clearly at ease with their naked selves, even if such openness does at times distract you from the narrative itself. Only do I hear anyone complaining?

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - the copious monty | Overall - file under ... 3 stars

›› Private Photos - Fotos Privadas ‹‹

a short film by Marcelo Grabowsky.

2020 | 20 mins | Brazil.

a vibrant relationship drama on love, lust and regret.

Dave says:

From co-writer and director Marcelo Grabowsky comes this vibrant relationship drama on love, lust and regret.

It tells the story of partners Rafa (Lucas Galvino) and Matheus (Vinicius Neri) who at the start are watching the hustle and bustle of life in the streets below their apartment, keen to spot the man who's going to spice up their love life in the form of a threesome for the night. And it isn't long before man of mystery Felipe (Antonio Miano) comes knocking at their door; namely a stranger who hasn't come all this way for idle chit-chat; rather to get down to some salacious man-sex. Only what happens when a threesome develops into a twosome with one of the partners not included, namely when three becomes two and perhaps even one?

Backed by a vibrant score, this three-act play focuses on a relationship that's all but gone past its expiry date, with the third party for the night not so much the last hope to somehow repair the void between the two lovers, but more an act of desperation that only highlights the gap between the two men for what it is. In short, this is a story of the beginning of the end and for one party, perhaps the start of something new, in the form of being whoever he wants to be.

Yet and in an much as Neri excels in the more serious role of the piece, it's the screen chemistry between Galvino and Miano that holds your attention, given there's clearly a lovers spark between their two characters. All of which makes for a well-played work that and for all of its sensuous scenes, is but a cautionary tale on the repercussions of a threesome, as come close-of-play you cannot help but wonder if the special bond between the two partners has been lost forever, if indeed it even existed before Felipe came calling? As for the title; well, that would be saying, but put it this way it sure does make for a sexually direct end credit sequence. Say no more.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - the full monty | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

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