Mikel Rueda’s little gem about two young men attempting to act on their affection for each while one is under threat of deportation is a sympathetic portrait of how quickly love can take hold of us. While I’m not a big fan of the non-linear story development, the chemistry between leads Germán Alcarazu and Adil Koukouh,makes this more enjoyable to watch than your standard lonely boys in love story.
Naomi Kawase’s Still the Water accomplishes something rare: a romance about young people that is clearly targeted to a more sophisticated adult audience that doesn’t rely on melodramatic tropes. The nuanced characters, verdant natural scenery and rich themes could make this a film worth watching, but it is marred by pacing issues. I wouldn’t blame you if you checked your watch now and again.
While the premise is interesting and the performances by the leads are strong, it is just too difficult to empathize with the characters in Suicide Room, Jan Komasa’s film about a troubled teen who withdraws to his room. Hikikomori isn’t actually a social problem in Poland that I’m aware of, and I think the director passed over several more interesting stories to theorize on what it would be like if it were. A wealthy, good looking teen throwing it all away might be arresting to watch, if only the protagonist’s most dramatic act for most of the film wasn’t to hide out at home.
As bio-pics go, Paul Soriano’s Kid Kulafu succeeds by laying off the hagiography to focus on aspects of Manny Pacquiao’s childhood that are shared by aspiring boxers everywhere.
A Hungarian Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Kornél Mundruczó’s White God tells an allegory about betrayal, oppression and revenge, but also the durability of the bonds that form between pets and their caretakers. Canine lead Hagen walks away with this one, conveying surprising emotional depth for a newbie actor.
What could have been an insider view of the practice of compensated dating and prostitution devolves into a romantic drama involving two good looking people like we’ve seen before. I’d lost interest long before Mr. Perfect showed up.
Sergio Tovar Velarde weaves together four short films covering the major phases of the lives of gay men in Mexico City in his second feature, Four Moons. With so many unconnected stories, it feels more like a condensed TV drama than a film.
Youth really does seem wasted on the young in CM Birkmeier’s drama about the end of a two year relationship. In Bloom starts slowly, but gets more lively after the separation. It makes me wish they’d ended it earlier and had some fun moving on.
What Jongens lacks in tension, leads Gijs Blom and Ko Zandvliet make up for in charm in this enchanting story of first love.