The ‘Men on Film’ series is one of the most popular threads from Pecadillo Pictures, which has been running for an impressive number of years now. Each release features a series of short films from around the world, spotlighting filmmakers who often find audiences beyond the festival circuit. For the latest release, ‘Men on Film: Dangerous to Know’, 10 shorts from Brazil, Hungary, Belgium, USA, Norway, Israel, Georgia and England have been brought together, each exploring dangerous attractions between men.
With a running time of nearly three hours, ‘Men on Film: Dangerous to Know’ is a lot to get through, and as always with this (and really any collection of shorts) they vary in quality. Renato Turnes’ “My Cousin’s Friend” opens the release and is a 9-minute short from Brazil that includes a homemade recording of a young Vicente Consiglio. Vicente is captured on film by his father, and his voice narrates his first experiences with accepting and exploring his sexuality. It’s a mild and somewhat sweet start to a collection that delves into darker territory.
This review would be too long, so instead of discussing each of the 10 shorts, I’ll highlight some of the best moments in ‘Men on Film: Dangerous to Know’. The first is ‘Chaperone’, a short by Sam Max in which Zachary Quinto (‘Star Trek’ franchise) is a mysterious man hired to provide services to a young man. I won’t reveal what those services are, but suffice it to say it’s not what you’d expect and it’s the first dark moment on the set.
From director Erasj Asanti, the Farzad starrer tells the story of closeted cage fighter Mansoor (Ravdeep Singh Bajwa). Secretly struggling with his sexuality and desperate to protect his father’s relationships with other men, Mansoor lives in constant fear of his father, Farzad. The short is tense and handles the issue well, showing how heart and head collide when Mansoor’s true identity comes to light.
Israeli filmmaker Uriel Thornton covers the same thing in his epic ‘The Will,’ which deals with the conflict between sexuality and religion. Elisha (Ido Tako) is attracted to men and wants to act on his feelings, but the guilt that comes from his religion and society’s expectations make him turn a blind eye. It’s a story that’s been told before, but Thornton’s take is worth your time.
The last two films are both from the UK; Mark Pluck’s ‘Hornbeam’ and Sean Leonard’s ‘Too Rough’. Pluck’s film sees two strangers meet in a van to hook up, and we see their relationship evolve over time. What begins as harmless fun soon turns into something much deeper, causing both men to question their actions. Leonard’s ‘Too Rough’ sees a young boy terrorized by his abusive and alcoholic parents, who unexpectedly return home to find a man in his bed. This short is hard to watch in places and is undoubtedly the most tense of all the films here.
There are two extras on the DVD and Blu-ray releases; Interviews with directors Sven Spoor (‘Eden’) and Sean Leonard (‘Too Rough’), give viewers more insight into the two short films.
‘Men on Film: Dangerous to Know’ is one of the strongest releases in a while. These stories engage the audience and I am sure many viewers can relate to aspects of them. Providing a true overview of the filmmaking talent in gay cinema around the world, this series remains as vital as ever. You may never look at Zachary Kinto the same way again.
take on Zachary Kunto, Ravdeep Singh Bajwa, Edo Taco Directors/Writers: Renato Turns, Matt Konkol, Sven Spoor, Sam Max, Uriel Thornton, Erasge Asanti, Ilene Naveriani, Mark Pluck, Tom Young, Sean Leonard. Certificate: 18 Duration: 159 min Released by: Peccadillo pictures Official date: July 24, 2023 Buy ‘Men on Film: Dangerous to Know’ now
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