Gay-Themed Short Film Collection ‘The Italian Boys’ Review

NQV Media have previously compiled short film collections centred on Danish boys, Latin boys, Israeli boys, and now turn their attention to The Italian Boys. The collection features five short films tackling gay themes, whilst showcasing a unique Italian culture and heritage. We’ve broken down the five shorts below, before release on the 19th of October.

Uproar – dir. Ludovico di Martino
Playing with Italian stereotypes of small communities, loud voices, and loveable bad boys, Uproar takes us to a small hamlet outside of Rome. Two young men fill their time with petty theft, football and general troublemaking, yet are faced with a proposal that changes their relationship dynamic. Tackling the idea of Italian machismo and its links with homophobia, director Ludovico di Martino has crafted a visually magnetic piece capturing the picturesque nature of the hamlet. His observations of gender roles and masculinity provide plenty of food for thought, whilst the narrative trajectory of the short feels swift and original – particularly as the links with Pier Paolo Pasolini become clear.

Tidal Time – dir. Dario di Viesto
Perhaps the most emotive of the shorts here, Tidal Time opens with dark, enigmatic shots of a father and son fishing – resulting in a near fatal accident. Ten years on and father Capudemazza is now devoutly religious and more possessive than ever with his now young adult son. The short veers into harrowing, somewhat disturbing territory as the fervently religious Capudemazza witnesses his son Flavio with a male lover. di Viesto’s short captures Italy’s bold religious traditions, whilst exploring the gay coming of age experience through that lens. Shot with a poignancy in the early moments with moonlit seas, the short progresses into a tense, urgent, and claustrophobic piece.

The Dummy – dir. Renato Muro
The shortest of the films is The Dummy, a punchy and ethereal coming of age piece. Exploring the idea of queer physicality, The Dummy follows a young boy in suburban Rome discovering an abandoned shop mannequin. The mannequin becomes the gateway to his dreams, desires, and newfound impulses. Muro’s short captures the young protagonist’s natural fascination with the form of the mannequin, set in what feels like a sparse wasteland, the short has a mythical, unusual quality – something enhanced by the strange isolated characters that inhabit it. It does a stellar job capturing a bold new world with the apprehension and excitement of a child’s eyes.

Lazarus Comes Out – dir. Lorenzo Caproni
Again tackling Italy’s religious society and its often-fraught relationship with homosexuality – this, slightly more directly than the other shorts. Set within the church, Lazarus Comes Out sees a traditional priest faced with concern when a troupe of exuberant actors come to stage the rebirth of Lazarus in the church. With a gay man stepping into the role of Christ, the film drops hints about the priest’s own sexuality, capturing the homosexual gaze as he becomes somewhat infatuated with handsome young Claudio (Fabrizio Colica), yet tries to suppress his interest. The cleverly titled short captures the repression of queer identity within the church, whilst satirising how alien homosexuality is to traditional members of the clergy.

Glue – dir. Renato Muro
The closing short from Renato Muro explores the relationship of two adolescents aimlessly enjoying the last days of the Naples summer. A meeting with Sara, a transsexual woman, pushes the boys on a journey of self-discovery. Packed with a punky swagger and exciting aesthetics, the short captures the frantic energy of the teenage mind – the eagerness to break the mould and act out. Whilst also capturing a romance in the picturesque Italian setting, Muro’s short is dreamy and elegantly crafted, but could benefit from a little more focus and sharpness in narrative trajectory with its thirty minute runtime occasionally feeling aimless.


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