Film #168: The Way He Looks (2014)

hoje-eu-queroaka: Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho
Director: Daniel Ribeiro
Language: Portuguese
Length: 96 minutes
Watched on: 25 October 2015

I’ve been hearing good things about this movie for a long time now, and I thought it was about time to check it out – I also found out where to acquire it from, which is a big part of tracking down niche movies like this.

It’s a romance between a blind boy and the new kid in school, the striking man with curly hair. Over the course of the movie, the blind guy is trying to assert his independence, and the curly-haired guy is the only one who, he feels, has given him the requisite respect. His parents are scared of letting him leave home, and his best friend also smothers him and insists on walking home with him.

As a portrayal of a blind person, it seems to be pretty accurate. I don’t actually know many blind people, so I’m sure they could come in and correct me on that, but it would be easy for a seeing actor to accidentally react to a visual cue, and the actor in this is pretty good at not doing that (since I think he’s not actually blind). The kinds of feelings and emotions that he feels are pretty relatable for any teenager, but have a particular perspective to them.

As a gay love story, it certainly treads familiar ground as a portrayal of coming out and the occasional homophobic (but in this case also ablist, of course) bullying, but it allows the romance to grow slowly over the course of the film, and is incredibly sweet to witness.

In general, I think it was a very well made film. The acting is realistic, and the actors know their way around their characters well and can act naturally. This means that I believed in the movie a lot more. It comes with a strong recommendation from me.

Film #167: Mission Impromable (2013)

mission-impromabledirector: Clio Gevirtz
language: English
length: 6 minutes
watched: 23 October 2015

This short, available on Vimeo if I remember rightly (this review spoils it, so if you want to search for it first and come back to the review, that’s probably a good idea), was a funny little thing. It features a gay teen couple who, trying to stay in the closet, attempt to serenade a girl to be their “beard” – a fake girlfriend to throw off suspicion – at prom.

But you can tell from the opening shot of the boy and girl kissing that the girl isn’t into it either, and sure enough, the punchline of the film is that they find she’s also gay and trying to use them as a beard. (You’d think this would be the perfect arrangement, but they feel cheated by her!)

I was impressed by a lot of things about this movie overall. The image quality and pacing is just right, and the boys are cute in a slightly-too-young way – although too feminine and apparently comfortable in their relationship for me to believe that they’d need or want to stay in the closet, except if their parents are homophobic or something.

But because the middle half of the film is a montage, it comes across very much like the germ of an idea for a feature film, rather than a short in its own right. I feel like I’ve missed out on the beginning and ending of their story. I’d like to see that, to be honest!

Film #166: Caged (2013)

uitgesprokenaka: Uitgesproken
Directors: Dylan Tonk & Lazlo Tonk
Language: Dutch
Length: 14 minutes
Watched: 23 October 2015

This film continued my little theme of watching gay-themed shorts. I think it’s on Youtube. It follows two runners in the Netherlands, practicing in their spare time. Basically the story is that one of them discovers that the other is gay, and then goes through some kind of existential anguish, because he’d been homophobic towards another guy. Eventually he decides to accept his friend, much to the chagrin of the local homophobes.

It’s a well-made movie, and the quality of the image and story is high. However, I’m not really that interested in coming at homophobia from a straight person’s perspective. Perhaps it’s just that I think having such thoughts is frankly ridiculous in the first place. I also get a little stressed out watching depictions of homophobia – I’ve never personally had it that bad, but it reminds me of the constant potential for peril.

But if that’s your cup of tea, as I say, it’s freely available online and it’s only 14 minutes of your time, so not that bad.