“Summer Storm” (Sommersturm) [2004]

Yesterday, I sat down to watch Summer Storm (‘Sommersturm’ in Germany where it was made), and I found it to be a marvelous little movie.

Another of the ‘gay’ movies, this film focuses on a group of Germanic folk who are part of a rowing regatta and ultimately turns into a coming out story for the lead character.

Tobi and Achim have been best friends for years. As cox and oarsman, they have helped their team win several rowing cups and are now looking forward to the important regatta in the countryside. As Achim’s relationship with his girlfriend grows more serious, Tobi becomes confused and increasingly left out. As the tension grows, Tobi, Achim and the others head towards a confrontation as fierce and liberating as the summer storm gathering over the lake…

Summer Storm highlights the emotional confusion of young people at the threshold of adulthood. Bolstering the film’s authenticity is the dazzling characterization of Tobi by award-winning young Robert Stadlober (Best Leading Actor at the Montreal Film Festival, 2001).

The film has it’s audio in German, and is subtitled accordingly, however don’t let that put you off watching it. I thought that it was really nice to see a foreign language ‘gay’ film and not another one just churned out of California or Vegas!

As with most films of this genre, some of it is a little OTT (e.g. a rival team being called Queerschlag…. you get the idea), however there is enough outside of that to make it a rather nice and warming film in my opinion.

I like the fact that it is set in what people may consider a typically non-gay environment – out in the woods, with a large group of people who are actively involved in a strenuous form of sporting activity. Most gay films take place in condos by the beach, or in hot sunny places, so an element of ‘real life’ really added to the experience I thought.

By the time the credits were rolling (it is around 98 mins long), I was thoroughly sold on the movie and reckon that it is potentially one of my favourites of the genre. I shall be purchasing it shortly I think – retailers still tend to have a few copies for around £7, though it is getting increasingly difficult to find.

And now, for the totty!! :P

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(NB: all actors featured were in their early 20s when this was filmed! :P)

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