As we reach the end of BFI Flare, it is time to highlight the absolutely fantastic shorts that the festival had on offer. Throughout today we will be breaking down the seven categories and all of their films. First up is the Beginnings and Endings section. If you miss out on catching these, I implore you to find them.
In an attempt to deal with his depression, Lynn goes out into the night looking for a good time.
Lynn’s depression is key to Buck; he has evidently lost a lot of feeling in his life, as his medication is meant to do; thus, he needs to try and do things outside of his comfort zone to feel that thrill, that urge for life. His dulled senses lead him astray to the point of almost total destruction. He doesn’t realise that he needs companionship, someone who relates to him, to show that he isn’t alone in this world as a black gay man.
There is power in the film for a next to dialogue-free (not the only one here), from Malik Shakur’s performance to the roaming and free cinematography. This captures the feeling of being lost, not only with your sexuality but mentally so well in such a short amount of time.
Jacob faces racial prejudice when he attempts to enter a gay nightclub.
We begin with a nervous man getting ready to enter a small club as he struggles to enter due to his skin colour. As he is of different skin colour, he is assumed to be not gay and cannot enter the club. As he is continually ignored, your heart begins to bleed for him. He wants to go in clearly to escape his current life. Perhaps for the first time, and as he is met with resistance because he is different from the others, he feels further isolated from society.
While too short to deep further into the matter, Cosmopolitan hits the nail on the head quickly and effectively by making itself a stark reminder that openness to sexuality is not as widely accepted as we would hope for. We know in time it will, but it’s evident more work needs to be done.
Escaping the Fragile Planet
In the final few hours before the world ends, two men meet and form a connection.
A pink mist is encompassing the planet and killing it slowly. As people try to handle the last remaining hours of life. Strangely filmed before COVID-19 hit the planet, Escaping the Fragile Planet rings true to the world in which we have been living in. Those not fortunate to be living with someone in these lockdowns will have felt an immeasurable amount of isolation in their home.
Countering the pink hue from outside, this basement record store is filled with a glorious blue tint that causes both colours to dance off the room and the characters, creating a magical nirvana from normalcy. This dominant and seemingly deadly pink hue is a constant reminder of what is to come. Still, our two leads take themselves away, engrossing themselves in the presence of each other and finding something amid all of the vibrant death to hold onto.
While the rest of the world becomes angry and hides away, these two men embrace what is coming and decide to enjoy life for as long as they can. Thanasis Tsimpinis is a filmmaker we should see more of thanks to this beautiful picture.
Listening In (HaMaazin)
A young soldier in an intelligence unit questions himself while spying on a Palestinian gay couple.
An impactful and meaningful short discusses the moral dilemma of embracing your sexuality and having a form of loyalty to those like yourself and keeping their business private (despite spying on them, or do you give your government the information they could use to go against that individual? This is where Omar Sterenbergs remarkable film finds Eitan Gimelman. This is an interesting piece as it can highlight an area that is rarely spoken about, sexuality in the army. Our lead is obviously discovering himself sexually, and with the new revelation presented to him, he wants to be as bold as those he is listening to. Still, he doesn’t know how to do so, and confusion reigns deep within him.
The Night Train
On an overnight train journey home, a young man locks eyes with a fellow passenger.
A lot can be said with just glances, and for a lot of The Night Train, that is ideally the case as our two young men stare at one another from across the aisle. Some films feel a peach is necessary; here, we find that it is a piece of an orange used as a significant flirtation device. Erik Nilsson and Khalil Ben Gharbia are wonderful here and pull you in with their increasing glances with one another.
The Night Train takes a simple idea and weaves gold with it. You are attached to these characters even when there is next to no dialogue to help them convey it. A film that has you wishing you had similar connections.
River Gallo stars as a non-binary pool cleaner who attracts the attention of a former high school athlete.
Our two leads the cinematography is one of the stars here, as Austin and Star are using shot in a close and intimate manner, highlighting their closeness. This is a stark comparison to when Austin and Jake are on screen together; wider shots fill the screen. The camera here is Austin’s own self-consciousness as he wants to get closer to Star and further away from his more toxic masculinity background from previous years.
A fantastically shot 10-minute piece highlighting the insecurities of some people who have yet to convey to others about their sexuality and in barely a few minutes highlights the difficulties in doing so.
To view more of our coverage of BFI Flare, please check out our other reviews below.
I am but a small website in this big wide world. As much as I would love to make this website a big and wonderful entity. That would bring in more costs. So, for now all I hope is to make Upcoming On Screen self sufficient. Well enough to where any website fees are less of a worry for me in the future. You can support the website below…
You can support us in a variety of ways (other than that wonderful word of mouth) and those lovely follows. If you are so inclined to help out then you can support us via Patreon, find our link here! We don’t want to ask much from you, so for now we have limited our tiers to £1.50 and £3.50. These will of course grow the more we plan to do here at Upcoming On Screen.
Thanks for reading, every view helps us out more than you would think (we have fragile egos). Until next time.