The subtitle for this collection of short films which have played
the festival circuit for a few years is
"Six Short Films about Guys
Who Hustle."
Indeed, the common bond between all these featurettes
is that the main character is a male prostitute. Hailing from Australia,
Germany, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, the six shorts
are of varying quality.

      First up is
"Into the Night" (2002), an award winner from
Australia written by Cath Moore and directed by Tony Krawitz, centering
on teenager Damien (Sam Barlow) who works the streets of an
unnamed city and the much older man (Bryan Marshall) who takes him
home. The encounter raises different emotions in each as they seek
to fill voids in their lives. "Into the Night" is one of the better films
included in this anthology and kicks things off on a high note.

                              
Rating:        B +

      The experimental
"Boy," written and directed by Welby Ings
follows. There are some arresting visual images in this silent tale of
a teenage male prostitute (Jesse Lee) who is privy to information
regarding a local automobile accident. While not wholly successful,
there are stunning moments.

                              
Rating:         B -


      "Gigolo" features Salim Kechiouche as an Arab rent boy who caters
to both men and women. He bristles under the watchful eye of the
wealthy older woman (Amanda Lear) who is keeping him. Written and
directed by Bastian Schweitzer,
"Gigolo" tries to find a correlation
between the work of prostitutes and the frustration and anger of the
local Arab population in France. Let's just kindly say that Schweitzer's
execution doesn't match his intentions.

                              
Rating:        C -


      The fourth entry is
"Build," written and directed by and starring
Greg Atkins. He plays the oddly named Crete (a nickname derived from
"concrete" because of his aspirations to be an architect). The brief
opening scene shows a young Crete being held by his alcoholic mother
as his father departs the family. As a young adult, Crete is supposedly
attending college, but instead he turns tricks at night and spends his
days roaming Toronto. An encounter with another male prostitute
(D. Garnet Harding) leads to his undoing. Atkins shows a flair for
handling actors and he delivers a fine performance in the lead.
"Build" should serve as a calling card for him for future work.

                              
Rating:        B



      The penultimate short is
"Rock Bottom," directed by Mary Feuer
and co-written by Feuer and John Militello, who stars as an overweight
and closeted man who picks up a street hustler (Timothy Lee DePriest).
The pair initially lie to one another about everything from their names
to their professions. The hustler's drug habit leads the pair to bond
in a surprising manner. The acting and the writing are somewhat
uneven but Feuer shows a certain skill behind the camera.

                              
Rating:       C+


      Wrapping up the set is
"Gold," and while I wish I could say that
the best was saved for last, that isn't quite the case. The film has a
rather intriguing premise, an artist going blind (Aron Trager) is
supporting a former street hustler (PJ Lazic) in return for the youth's
attempts at painting the visions the artist still "sees" in his mind.
When the young man is insulted by a store clerk, he briefly returns
to his former life, doing drugs and engaging in sex with another
hustler (D. Garnet Harding again) who suggests they stay together
and rob the blind man. Written and directed by Armen Kazazian,
"Gold" offers hints at a more complex tale but it doesn't quite
achieve its lofty goals.

                              
Rating:        C +



                      
Overall rating:       B
                      
Running time:       106 mins.
Boys Briefs 4
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.