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. Second up is For the Record, traversing a wide range of subjects, this inspiring selection of short-form documentaries is guaranteed to provoke and inspire in equal measures.
Above the Troubled Water
Three Nigerian men are scattered across the globe after escaping homophobic violence.
A film that delves just enough to make use of its short runtime could easily take us for a feature-length journey. The devastation of not being accepted in their own country fills these men and the viewer as they have to seek escape from the country that they love, from their friends and family just because of their sexual orientation. This is an informative piece that, like I Am Samuel, stays with you and reminds us that work still very much needs to be done.
All I Need is a Ball
Paloma Pujol, tired of being the only freestyler woman in Spain, challenges herself to open the female category in the Spanish Football Freestyle Championship. Still, she needs at least four more girls to achieve her goal.
While not freestyle, when I was in school, a girl was so talented that she was in the boy’s football team. She had no choice but to play with the boys as there was next to no women’s football around. You could see the frustrations she had in not having people like her around to play the sport that she loved, and that is where we find Pujol.
Women in sports are growing, yet the more niche the sport, the harder it appears to get investment and interest. As we follow Paloma’s journey, the numbers grow, and with the use of social media, these women can find each other so much easier. Yet hurdles are thrown up in that as Paloma is trying to build this group, resulting in their place at the competition. This is a doc that should appeal to the non-sports fan and raises essential questions.
In this discerning mini-doc, Sascha beautifully articulates and illuminates life as a trans-non-binary person in Basel’s small city.
Trans non-binary people are rarely spoken about on-screen; we tend to focus so much on gay, lesbian and trans people that we forget about the people who are non-binary. Here we are faced with an enlightening look at Sascha’s difficulties and, by proxy, the majority of people like them face in a world that still hasn’t gotten a full grip of trans, non-binary people. This is an exciting portrait that enables the viewer to learn more about what they were ignorant of.
Son of Sodom
Selected for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, this portrait of a beautiful, young, rebel queer explores his life in Medellin’s bohemian circles.
This doc looks into the all too brief life of Camilo Najar, who, by chance, auditioned on tape for a film in 2017. As he talks about his life, we find how self-destructive he is, and a week later, he was found dead from a heroin overdose. As director Theo Montoya ventures more into his film, we talk with those who knew Camilo as they discuss his lack of fear of death and how the subject of death is never far from everyone’s lips as this is a generation of people who seem to know death is coming for them sooner rather than later.
This powerful and, at times, horrifying for how honest and lost these people are. Showing a generation in Columbia who have no confidence in their future and want to live for the now, rather than worry about life in 10 years. Camilo, in fact, says so in his recorded discussion that in 10 years he expected to be dead, he lasted 7 more days. A dark film with a clear message, though how likely it is that this group can be saved or save themselves remains to be seen,
Young queers connect in a sci-fi dream world to build a war machine of love and a virtual manifesto for the future.
While pandemic restrictions restrict how the film would come across, there is a lot of positive intent to give these young LGBTQ teenagers a chance to communicate their feelings and dreams for the future, and it should be applauded for that. However, this is a bit of a mess and feels badly disjointed.
Tracing Utopia should really be broken down into more segments and would be a terrific series of short videos rather than one whole piece. As the film moves towards its Minecraft section, it loses all of the momentum it had. A film that is a shame that it doesn’t utilise its chance to give this growing voice a better vehicle to be heard.
To view more of our coverage of BFI Flare, please check out our other reviews below.
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