WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Three young men who don’t know each other are placed in an abandoned amphitheater and asked to work on an art project, where their bodies become the medium. As they work side by side and develop a sort of intimacy, the boys talk about the way they perceive their masculinity and sexuality. Anton has been happily exploring his flexible sexuality. Adam is settled in his trans identity but still figuring out his queerness in the choice of partners. Sigurd has never been with a man but feels like he will find truth in such encounters. Strangers become confidants to each other and find new depths of vulnerability and fluidity.
WHO MADE IT: Mathias Broe is a young Danish filmmaker who has made many short films. He wanted to make the film about fluidity aimed at men specifically, as he finds the existing narratives limiting. Broe found the making of “Amphi” therapeutic and has since started work on a different project for a younger audience. Cinematographer Nicolai Lok is the DOP whose brooding chiaroscuro perfectly fits the Ancient Greece vibes. Broe chose the three protagonists, Adam Hawwa Vissing, Sigurd Holm, and Anton Falck, during a series of interviews with 25 young Danish men. Each of them is a bright, likable and genuine kid, but Anton Falck is perhaps the best known of the trio, as he plays the keyboards in the Danish synthpop band First Hate. (They’re great, give them a listen).
WHY DO WE CARE: At the start of the film, Broe addresses the men: “What I would like you to help me with is to create a film that I was I had seen when I was younger.” There are so many issues that could have been resolved if only someone saw a particular film earlier in their life. A film that would tell them it’s ok and eradicate the many years of pain, confusion, and searching for meaning. Representation matters, especially in issues that get so little coverage. The stereotypes, the shame, the complexities of being male in today’s world are a dense tangle, and “Amphi” is a fresh breath on the road to unsnarl it. The film shows perfectly how different and yet how alike each experience is. Whether a man wants to be with people of his own gender or struggles to limit himself to just one option, he is still a human who deserves affection. Whether a man has a flat chest, or puffy breasts, a six-pack or a beer gut, a penis or a vagina, he is still a man whose body deserves care and love. These are all simple things, really, and Mathias Broe approaches them with grace and subtlety. An imaginative, striking, and earnest film, “Amphi,” should be shown to adolescents the world over: it may not solve all the world’s problems, but it will help make a significant step forward for many.
WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: Sometimes, the most base concerns are the trickiest, and figuring out what to make of masculinity might well be a much bigger issue than any pertaining to other aspects of identity. After all, roughly half the world’s population is identified as male, and so many of the wrought issues that cause disquiet are related to it one way or another. From wars and capitalism to the imaginary opposition of masculinity to femininity and all the havoc it wreaks—all have masculinity concerns at the core. Coming from a deeply personal place, Mathias Broe managed to hit the nail on the head of the problem: boys who are free of constraints are happy boys. And happy boys don’t fight: they create. Watching the trio bare their souls and get undressed in front of each other, to reveal bodies that are perfect and undoubtedly male, but not generally accepted as such—is a transgressive, sublime experience. And as the film,—half an hour long, but more profound than many other musings on queerness,—draws to a close, the trio reveals the fruit of their labors: an artwork that exemplifies masculinity of the future. Fluid in notions but solid in a shell of wholeness, it defies any kind of description too precise but remains open to constant evolution.
Amphi (Amfi), 2019
Director: Mathias Broe
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