This new anthology of gay male short films, from Wolfe Video, is better than most. As usual, I'll review each short individually, and the overall number of stars is simply an average:
* "Summer" (UK 2006) explores the common theme of unrequited love between a gay teenager and his best friend, who is straight. Sweet, give it 4 stars out of 5.
* "Night Swimming" (USA 2005) has a similar plot to the short above, but carries the gay boy's crush on the straight best friend a bit further, on an unplanned night together after the latter's vehicle breaks down en route to a concert, stranding them in the woods. The togetherness encourages the gay boy (Otter) to test the waters and see if his friend/idol (Darby) feels the same way. Realistic and emotional, give it five stars out of five.
* "Running Without Sound" (USA 2004) spotlights Sean, a gay deaf teen boy whose passion is cross country running. Already somewhat shy due to his inability to hear or speak, Sean has to rely on visual signs from his friends, which become more complicated when he develops a crush on a teammate. Sweet and creative short film; wish it had more time to develop the story. Four stars out of five.
* Small town, shy German teen Tom is considering being "Out Now" (Germany (20 min.) to his classmates, who already torment him as a sissy and outsider. He discusses his feelings with a boy he meets on the internet, including the fact that he has a crush on another boy who works at a nearby snack shop. A night out at a disco frequented by his classmates results in a revelation and a new resolve for the young man. In German with subtitles (Which unfortunately aren't that easy to read, since they often flash on the screen too briefly or are shown as white on a light background, rendering them near invisible). Three stars out of five.
* "The Bridge" (Australia 2006) - A young gay male couple leave their Russian homeland to escape homophobia, and relocate to Sydney Australia, awaiting approval to immigrate there. Their thoughts and emotions before (and after) the immigration decision is made are the subject of this intense, emotional film. Four stars out of five.
* "Hitchcocked" (USA 2006) is a sexy but somewhat scary story about two guys who meet on the internet for sex, with a very clever twist ending. Tempted to give it an extra star just for the title, but we'll stick with four stars out of five.
* "Oedipus N+1" (France 2003), likely boasting a production budget higher than the other six films put together, tells a creative and intriguing sci-fi story set in the distant future, when "The Circle" - the elite rich and educated part of the population - have essentially taken over control of the world, and push for conformity with its ideals and values. Thomas, a gay man, awakens to find out that he had died and, paid for my his mother, he has been cloned to live again ... but Mom wants a bigger say in that life, this time around. Impressive and generally well-acted, though a bit confusing as a 26 minute short. In French with English subtitles. I give it five stars out of five.
There are no DVD special features, other than trailers for other Wolfe releases.