Sebastian, a young male prostitute, is one of Georgs few remaining chances to break through his hermit-like everyday life in exchange for a few fleeting moments of being together with someone at least for a few hours. Georg loves Sebastians easy-going and playful manner. He loves the absurd stories that the boy spontaneously comes up with and Georg never knows whether to actually believe all of them or not. And it looks like today Georgs long cherished dream will finally come true: this time the boy asks him if he can stay overnight of his own free will. Georg does everything to fully enjoy the rare and valuable moments he hopes for more. Yet the more Georg dares to get closer to the boy, the more Sebastian breaks off contact with him. Within a short space of time, the boy seems to age by many years. He is looking for help. Georgs hopes are shattered. They start arguing. However, that very same evening, Sebastian is standing in front of his door again. He has come to say goodbye. By ...
WHILE YOU ARE HERE (Germany) "He's asleep downstairs. I'm so excited I just don't know what to do." That's George (Michael Gempart), an elderly German pensioner, speaking into his tape-recorder diary, entries from which play on the soundtrack of this magnificent 80-minute film from 26-year-old writer-director Stefan Westerwelle, who made it as his senior project at Cologne's Academy of Media Arts. George is excited because Sebastian (Leander Lichti), the young hustler he's been hiring of late, has unexpectedly decided to stay the night. Both men need the company, and both gradually find resonance in the other's haltingly told stories of the various men (fathers, lovers, et al.) who've shaped their lives. This exquisitely designed and photographed film has a disjointed and ultimately very moving time scheme, and a vividly physical sense of how a man such as George like single people the world over surrounds himself with the photos and objects whose nearness soothes his soul. In its affinity for the movement of light and shadow across a domestic space, While You Are Here calls to mind the films of British master Terence Davies (The Long Day Closes and Distant Voices, Still Lives), while its appreciation for the daily rhythms of solitude makes it the cinematic equivalent of Christopher Isherwood's seminal novel of gay life, A Single Man. That's surely too much hyperbole for such a modest film, but this is gorgeous work from an exciting new filmmaker. (REDCAT, Sat., July 21, 9:30 p.m.) (CW)
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