NQV Media’s ‘The Male Gaze’ series continues with the release of ‘The Male Gaze: Three’s Company’, a collection of six new shorts that further explore the realities of being a gay man in the modern age. Collecting together shorts from Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium, fans of the series can enjoy another trot around the globe for more glimpses into the lives of a number of very different men.
‘Golden Boys’, from Canadian film-maker Jill Riley, opens the collection and tells the story of a group of friends who break into their old private school during a boozy night. Once inside, memories of the past come back to haunt them, particularly their behaviour towards a fellow student who died. The short explores masculinity and the walls men put between each other as well as the lies we tell ourselves when we don’t want to face up to the truth. It packs a lot into its 8 minutes and it’s a solid start.
Second short ‘In Beating Cells’ is the standout of this release. From German film-maker Richard Kranzin, the short takes a snapshot of two young couples on a camping trip. During their trip, the friends get drunk and indulge in a foursome, which stirs up supressed feelings in Friedrich (Lukas Sperber) towards Rico (Philipp Kronenberg). Pretty soon their hedonistic behaviour creates a rift and what started out as fun becomes heartbreaking and emotional. ‘In Beating Cells’ is a realistic exploration of coming to terms with your sexuality and it’s definitely the most emotional short here.
French film-maker Guillaume Mainguet explores family tension in ‘The Middle of a Lake’, where two brothers – one gay, one straight – clash following the cremation of their father, while Jordi Wijnalda’s ‘Gilles’ depicts two homophobic men, and sworn enemies, who unite in their hatred of a gay man they meet in the streets. The latter is violent and nasty, but brings home the reality of the dangers gay men still face by simply being themselves.
Manuel Marmier’s ‘Kiko’s Saints’ is the quirkiest short here and the most sexually explicit. A Japanese illustrator is on an assignment in France when she spots two men getting intimate on the beach. She becomes obsessed with drawing them and follows them around, gradually breaking down the barriers she tries to keep between them. It’s a fun twist on a voyeur story and it’s interesting to see a female character as the voyeur rather than the stereotypical male. This short goes places you won’t expect and it’s got a very surprising conclusion.
Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni’s ‘With Thelma’ brings the collection to a close and it’s an eye-opening story of two men that are forced to look after the daughter of their friends. The story highlights the challenges of being a parent as the two men struggle to get to grips with the precocious little girl, and they go through a journey that surprises them both as they bond with her despite all of the challenges she lays out for them.
‘The Male Gaze: Three’s Company’ is very entertaining and all of the shorts are fantastic. I love this series because it really exposes the reality for gay men across the world and while we all have so much in common, there’s lots that’s different about our experiences too. This strand is my favourite of NQV Media’s and I’m already looking forward to the next instalment.
Cast: Kristopher Turner, Robbie Graham-Kuntz, Philipp Kronenberg, Lukas Sperber Directors: Jill Riley, Richard Kranzin, Guillaume Mainguet, Jordi Wijnalda, Manuel Marmier, Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni Certificate: 18 Duration: 98 mins Released by: NQV Media Release date: 27th August 2021 Buy ‘The Male Gaze: Three’s Company’ now