22 April 2020 | euroGary
Why the lesbians? 'Boys on Film' continues to lose its way
I have nothing against lesbians - some of my best friends, etc etc - but 'Boys on Film' is supposed to be about the *male* homosexual experience, so the inclusion of 'Dusk', which is about two women's relationship - even if one of them *does* dress as a man - is out of place in this collection, worthy though it may be. (Some viewers will find certain parts of it - especially a scene where a hospital nurse is abusive about transgender people - very similar to 'Brace' (BoF 14) which is not a surprise as transgender activist Jake Graf wrote both films. Is he running out of ideas?)
Then there is 'Run(a)way Arab', about a drag queen remembering his childhood. Not all drag queens are homosexual, and there is nothing to suggest the central character here is gay. So why is the film included?
Even 'Jermaine and Elsie', the most interesting film in terms of character depth and competent film-making, has little overt gay content. True, Jermaine is seen in the company of a man, but they could just as easily be friends, or even brothers, as lovers. Jermaine's sexuality, whatever it is, is barely mentioned and is certainly not a major thrust of the story.
Other films just drag: 'No More We' could have been an interesting look at the breakdown of a long-term, committed homosexual relationship, but the two protagonists are so dull, spending lengthy periods staring into the middle distance while talking about who gets the bed, that the film seems four times as long as it actually is. Even 'The Fish Curry', interesting in that one rarely sees animation from India, could probably have shaved a few minutes from its running time with no loss of atmosphere or story.
There is also very little (adult) nudity! Pretty much only 'Between Here and Now' delivers on that score, and even then the sex scene is filmed so shadowy and with such quick-cut editing you are not sure which character's buttocks you are looking at (it is a very erotic scene, though).
It is not all bad: I have already mentioned 'Jermaine and Elsie' as being interesting, and 'Blood Out of a Stone' is sweet, featuring a novel idea for a first date. 'Between Here and Now' has a definite beginning, middle and end. But several of the films have a 'film school final term project' feel to them, and more than one have the writer/director/producer also casting himself as star - making them easy to view as mere vanity projects.
I do not regret spending £3.99 to rent 'Boys on Film' 19 from Amazon, but there is no way I would pay more than that to *own* it. BoF really needs to up the quality of the films it features - and it definitely needs to return to its original focus.