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New Queer Visions: The Last Days of Innocence

Film

‘New Queer Visions: The Last Days of Innocence’ review

Four shorts go to places rarely seen on film.

Rounding out another successful year, NQV Media dropped one last shorts collection before 2021 came to a close. ‘New Queer Visions: The Last Days of Innocence’ presents four films from Switzerland, North Macedonia, France and the Czech Republic, which explore the transition from youth to adulthood, and the complications that come along with that. Different in tone to previous NQV Media releases, this collection takes more time to explore the stories while still supporting the company’s main ethos of representing queer experience around the globe.

Benoît Duvette’s ethereal and dream-like short ‘Ruins’ opens the collection and it captures two boys on the run both physically and emotionally. While the overall narrative is never made particularly clear, ‘Ruins’ is a tale of forbidden love and a potentially dangerous relationship between two boys who are trying to escape different things in their lives. As one seems content in the forest, shedding his clothes as if they are an old skin that need to be discarded, the other is in almost constant motion, running to leave his cares behind. The short is poetic and mysterious, and one of the shortest here.

New Queer Visions: The Last Days of Innocence
Credit: NQV Media

‘Aline’ by Simon Guélat takes the viewer to more familiar ground, telling the story of Alban (Paulin Jaccoud), a young man who doesn’t fit in in the Swiss ski town he lives with his mother. Yearning to be loved, Alban’s eyes are opened when he meets Julien (Schemi Lauth). Falling fast and hard, Alban agrees to meet Julien every night but as their romance blossoms, Julien begins to pull away leaving Alban confused and hurt. The short is a sobering lesson is how life, and love, is never as simple as you think when you’re young and how expectations and reality can differ greatly.

Andrey Volkashin’s ‘Snake’ is the most thought-provoking of the films on this release. It’s an exploration of homophobia and how nurture rather than nature can play a big part in it. Nine-year-old Mario is drawn to a gay neighbour who dresses as a woman, and that inspires him to dress up in women’s clothes with his friends. The reaction of his parents isn’t a welcoming one, and that leads Mario to conclude that what he’s doing, and therefore what his neighbour does, is wrong. We see Mario change from an open-minded and curious little boy to one who has been influenced by the homophobia of his parents.

New Queer Visions: The Last Days of Innocence
Credit: NQV Media

The most controversial of the shorts, ‘The Touching’ by Dominik György, is saved for last. This film goes places few film-makers would dare as it looks at sexual experimentation between two young brothers. In the privacy of their shared bedroom brothers David (Herman Tajovsky) and Marek (Krystof Brand) take their love for one another too far when they become sexual with one another. David, the young brother, becomes dependent on his brother’s affection while Marek realises what they are doing is wrong and attempts to distance himself. Shot in black-and-white, ‘The Touching’ asks uncomfortable questions and it confronts abuse in a way I’ve never seen before.

‘New Queer Visions: The Last Days of Innocence’ beautifully captures the challenges of adolescence whilst confronting hard truths that aren’t often explored on film. NQV Media continues to be at the forefront of representing the queer experience, venturing places few other distributors would consider. This collection of films is challenging, thought-provoking and deeply engaging, and it sets yet another high bar for the quality that NQV Media is delivering.

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Cast: Paul Lecomte, Simon Royer, Paulin Jaccoud, Schemi Lauth, Herman Tajovsky, Krystof Brand Directors: Benoît Duvette, Simon Guélat, Andrey Volkashin, Dominik György Certificate: 18 Duration: 102 mins Released by: NQV Media Release date: 27th December 2021 Buy ‘New Queer Visions: The Last Days of Innocence’ now

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