Jørgen lives abroad, but every summer he comes back to Denmark with his wife. He invites, as usual, his neighbours and their teenager son,Thomas, for dinner at his place. Only, this time there is a strange tension in the air between the adults. After dinner, Jørgen and Thomas go to the beach for a walk. They discover that both have secret problems, and the fact they cannot talk about them is creating great stress. As they disclose their secrets to each other, a friendship starts. But through the course of the next two summers their relationship develops in a way they would never have expected.
Okay, let’s cut to the chase, given this short film from co-writer and director Carlos Augusto de Oliveira walks on uncomfortable, if not downright unnerving ground, charting as-it-does the growing friendship and eventual sexual bond between a 40-something man and the teenage son of friends of the family. Yet and in what should have been a shocking tale of paedophilia, de Oliveira has delivered a work that instead leaves you with a series of poignant questions come close of play, given when happens when the instigator of the sexual act is the youth himself and not the adult and the sex in question is not only consensual, but technically within the law; fifteen being the legal age of consent in Denmark.
Told over three years as the title implies, this is actually a beautifully staged and shot work, intercut with the joys of outdoor dinner parties and sun-drenched walks in the countryside. Yet it is equally one that sees co-writer and star of the show Morten Kirkskov of Borgen fame, go out of his way to portray Jørgen far from a predatory figure. Rather man and boy are captors of a kind; with hitherto heterosexual Jørgen seemingly locked in a loveless marriage, whilst Thomas is not out to his parents – yet. Confiding in each other their innermost secrets and none more so for Thomas than being gay, it is this first summer that forms the basis of the events to come. For move on one year and Thomas is now not only out ‘n’ proud to the world, but alarmingly keen to seduce Jørgen in the process; the consequences of which are detailed in their final summer spent together, with Jørgen well aware of the situation he finds himself in.
True, the controversial nature of the subject is indeed troubling, in particular in countries where and like the UK, such an act would see the adult behind bars faster than you can say “underage sex”. Yet if you take away the sexual aspect of the piece, off-camera – naturally, together with the contentious issue of the age of consent, one that itself varies by jurisdiction across Europe from 14 to 18, then you’re left with the somewhat tender story of the blossoming friendship between two men of differing ages, one that’s played with remarkable honesty as we see a young man grow in confidence, only for the object of his affection to feel otherwise, haunted by their one night spent together.
In short, this is a work where subtle glances wonderfully convey a multitude of unspoken words and emotions, making it one of the strongest short films featured on the acclaimed Boys On Film 11: We Are Animals release, courtesy of the good folk at Peccadillo Pictures. Strikingly thought-provoking to say the least, but a serious theme that’s neatly countered by some deadpan comic touches, with Thomas declaring that he “turned gay last Christmas” only for Jørgen to add – “so that’s what Santa brought for you”.
Director: Carlos Augusto de Oliveira (as Carlos Oliveira)
Writers: Morten Kirkskov, Carlos Augusto de Oliveira (as Carlos Oliveira)
Stars: Morten Kirkskov, Simon Munk, Stine Schrøder Jensen
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media
Codec ID : isom (isom/iso2/avc1/mp41)
File size : 883 MiB
Duration : 27 min
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 4 479 kb/s