The feature film Wretched Things is made up of three separate shorts that are only connected thematically. “We men are wretched things,” writes Homer in The Iliad, and writer-director Gage Oxley throws each of his three leading men into an odyssey during which they become a kind of sex worker. Shot in Leeds, the films are powerful and pointed, each with its own distinct kick. Oxley and his cast sat down with Gay Essential to talk about the project.
Mati is a tomboy nearing her final high school exams, who devotes most of her free team on her motorbike, hanging with an irritating group of boys. One day, when helping out her mum at the vets, she meets Carla, a local shop assistant who she is instantly attracted to. As her attraction to Carla grows, the rifts within her friendship group become more palpable, especially between her and Sebi the son of a local farmer who clearly has feelings for Mati.
In a few years time, when we look back on the festival films that had left a standing impression after the hype wore down, Jordana Spiro’s feature debut will likely be amongst those held in the highest regard. Night Comes On is an intimate drama that can easily fall through the cracks when drowned out by more nakedly audacious films at festivals.
For lovers of classic Hollywood, the trajectory of Montgomery Clift is an archetypal example of a meteoric rise followed by a stratospheric fall. Originally propositioned by agents for years in the hope he’d sign on to become a child star, Clift instead waited until his late twenties to make his screen debut, and did so against the system.
Giant Little Ones isn’t the first teen movie to realise that being openly gay in high school is a waking nightmare – but it is one of the rare few that lets its character mature without ever offering a neat conclusion that he wouldn’t be afforded in real life. The best way of describing writer/director Keith Behrman’s film is a grittier Canadian cousin of Love Simon; a film about the all encompassing hell of being in the closet, even if there are more people in your life who would accept you than ones who wouldn’t.
American Translation is a French film co-directed by Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr. The film follows a stunningly handsome young man and his American lover as they travel the French countryside, pursuing young male prostitutes for sadistic thrills, while managing to evade the local police inspector.
Carmen & Lola (Carmen y Lola), the directorial debut of Arantxa Echevarria, reinvigorates a familiar coming out scenario by transporting it to the heart of Madrid’s Roma community, finding within it specific cultural issues that, sadly, allows for one of the oldest narratives within LGBT storytelling to maintain its relevancy.