Following the recent glut of ‘Girls Feels’ releases, NQV Media is heading back to familiar territory with the continuation of their ‘The Boys’ series. This time the spotlight is on the sunny land of Australia, with seven shorts collected together to form ‘The Aussie Boys’. With a range of film-makers showcased, ‘The Aussie Boys’ provides a wide range of styles and stories, and there’s bound to be something for everyone.
Cédric Desenfants’ ‘Burning Soul’ opens the collection and it takes the viewer back to June 1727 with two young men held hostage after their ship is wrecked. Despite the two being close friends and having grown up together, it takes this situation for their true feelings to be revealed and over the course of 14 minutes, we see the boys under immense pressure as they try to deal with their changing relationship.
‘Miles’ by Christopher Sampson follows and it takes us back to the present day as three friends find themselves in a love triangle. During a road trip, the situation between them comes to a head as they are forced to deal with their reality. This short was an early highlight for me, perfectly capturing the way potential unrequited love feels and how someone can string you along without ever giving you the clarity you need, or deserve.
Things take a turn for the erotic with Luke Marsden’s ‘Infidels’, a dimly lit and wordless 7-minute short revolving around a man catching his boyfriend being pleasured by another man. Marsden manages to pack in an incredible amount of emotion and really makes you feel, just through the physical actions of the characters. The viewer is never aware of what the actual situation is but there’s plenty of clues to pick up on along the way.
Andrew Lee’s black-and-white contribution ‘Eric’, sees a ‘lad’ meeting with a returning soldier coping with post-traumatic stress disorder in a motel room. The encounter between the two is brief but they share a memorable interaction that surprises them both. The short is beautifully shot and understated.
The standout on this collection is ‘What Grown Ups Know’ by Jonathan Wald. The short tells the story of the relationship between a gay teenage boy and his ailing mother. Taking up residence in a caravan park after leaving her husband, Elizabeth struggles with her dwindling health and can’t make ends meet. Her son Roy becomes infatuated with the motel owner, and confuses his feelings for his father for this potential new father figure. The story is complicated but it’s engaging, allowing itself to unfold over the course of 30 minutes.
Simon Croker’s ‘All Good Things’ captures a young relationship on the verge of ending, with one half of the couple blindsided. Levi and his partner Isaac go on a road trip together, both with very different ideas of what the future holds. The short is a meditation on young love and the naivety that comes with it.
The final short is ‘The Dam’ by Brendon McDonall, which sees two men meet after many years apart to finally confront the feelings they had for one another. What starts off as perfectly pleasant, soon turns into something deeply emotional and painful, showing that love between two people can last for decades, even if they never properly had a relationship.
‘The Aussie Boys’ is a strong and engaging collection of shorts that really does highlight the film-making talent in Australia. Each of these shorts is so different, that it makes the collection compelling to watch. ‘The Boys’ series has been one of my favourites from NQV Media and I’m excited to see which country we get taken to next.
Cast: Nathan Draman, Jye Whatson, Madi Jennings, Joel Horwood, Joshua Morton, Duncan Ragg Directors: Cédric Desenfants, Christopher Sampson, Luke Marsden, Andrew Lee, Jonathan Wald, Simon Croker, Brendon McDonall Certificate: 18 Duration: 110 mins Released by: NQV Media Release date: 2nd September 2022 Buy ‘The Aussie Boys’ now