Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Trapped in the Purgatory of Childhood: BOYS VILLAGE

Boys Village (2011)
Director: Till Kleinert
Seen via: Nevermore Film Fest
Duration: 22 min

Boys Village opens peacefully amidst a block of crumbling buildings  slowly giving way to a field of wildflowers and weeds. It's among these buildings that we see a young boy named Kevin wandering, playing, and talking to a series of tattered homemade ragdolls. On the surface, it might seem idyllic, but there's a definite tinge of unease present. Kevin's clothes are just a little too anachronistic, and his elaborate rituals seem more like some ancient magic than a child's games. There's also that looming black doorway that gives off an air of inexplicable evil... When a group of teenagers decides to use Kevin's buildings for an evening of drinking and making out, he watches with interest and more than a little fear. Just how long has Kevin been living here anyway, and what will happen when he confronts these reckless intruders?

The village shown in the film is an actual location in Wales that was once a home for the sons of coalminers, but has since fallen into ruin and disrepair. The rich setting is one of the most appealing aspects of Boys Village. It's a beautifully haunting location for a slow-burning ghost story. Director Till Kleinert made a great decision to shoot his film in super 16. The film stock gives the atmosphere a slightly worn and weathered look that fits nicely with the film's tone. As an extra layer of icing on the cake, there's a small twist that pushes the tale into coming-of-age territory. It suggests the village is a space that's equally metaphorical and physical - one that we all inhabit early in life.

Boys Village has been screening primarily at LGBT film fests over the past couple of years, and was funded by the Iris Prize, a cash award for LGBT-oriented films that funds its recipients' future filmmaking efforts. While it's currently unavailable online, you can watch an interview with director Till Kleinert here, or visit the film's official page at: http://www.irisprize.org/boys-village/. I'd recommend watching for this one and seeing it if you have the chance.

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