During my time at the Iris Prize Festival, I was lucky enough to be able to see a few of the competition winners, which includes ‘Best British Short’, and ‘Best International Short’, to name a few.
The pastoral to gay narratives is what waterlilies were to Monet; inseparable and unimaginably beautiful. ‘One Summer’ is the quiet, sun-drenched story of two sheepshearers wiling their time away on a farm in the north of England, and finding themselves preoccupied with the idea of what could be. It is reminiscent of both ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and Francis Lee’s recent ‘God’s Own Country’ in its use of a natural setting, rooted in loneliness yet brimming with sexual potential. Accompanied by the sensual sounds of classic French rock, ‘One Summer’ explores the palpable tension and anger that arises when one promising farmer develops an attraction to another. While warmth fills the air around them, and sunlight streams in through their car windows, these two young men find their friendship intensified and strained in equal measure. As heady desire awakens, so does turmoil, which is met with a physical confrontation; one that culminates in a shattered bravado and an agonising acknowledgement. ‘One Summer’ is filmmaking at its finest, where warm, woozy dreams are nipped in the bud and, ultimately, left broken by unrequited love.