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Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel. An attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Franck knows this, but wants to live out his passion anyway.
Despite it's title, 'Boy's Choir' is not so much about a group of singers as it is about two boys in particular that strike a rather ambiguous relationship. Music is the vehicle through which they grow but it is also mingled with a political awareness. Artistic discipline lends itself very well to spreading a doctrinal message and the boys read about the Russian revolution in between intense rehearsal sessions. As someone who has been in a choir I can only commend the enthusiasm that veers of military training.
But it is here that the danger lies: too much devotion for a cause can result in destruction. The nostalgic aura that pervades the movie is already a hint of later developments. Very interesting is the way the main boys relate to each other. It starts as something conventional, the star of the company befriending the clumsy stuttering newcomer and showing him the wonders of singing, to develop into a complicated web of dependence and complicity in which it is the by now well adjusted new comer that supports the off kilter shining star. While I did come across this title in a list of gay themed movies there are only undertones of homo-erotic tension. And these suffice to convey the confusing awkwardness of going through puberty.
Ultimately, it is precisely an inability to progress toward adulthood and accepting all that comes with it that leads to the climax. It is always very refreshing to find a movie with teenagers that manages to go beyond clichés and this is such a movie. Choir life is captured perfectly. The combination of political and individual concerns set against a mildly religious background is seamless. Character growth is at the heart of it all.
Covering a vast emotional spectrum and relying on wonderful acting 'Boy's Choir' is not an easy watch but a rewarding one.
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