BFI Flare: Boy Meets Boy (2021) – on demand

After meeting high in a Berlin nightclub, Johannes and Harry casually drift around the city coming down and getting to know each other in Daniel Sanchez Lopez’s Boy Meets Boy.

Do you think this is joy?

by Chris Drew

Boy Meets Boy

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Half of the plot of director Daniel Sanchez Lopez’s brief, breezy and flirty film is right there in the title Boy Meets Boy; German dancer Johannes (Alexis Koutsoulis, in a debut performance) and British tourist Harry (Matthew James Morrison, Youth Condemn) catch eyes and meet on a sweaty nightclub dance floor.

After some passionate kissing they emerge into bright daylight and embark on an unplanned day together.

We learn that Harry has been clubbing for two days and only has a day left to see the city. Johannes is happy to help once Harry accompanies him to the police station to report his lost wallet.

They head to an internet café, print out Harry’s boarding pass while joking about memories of Windows 97 and killing time drawing each other on Paint.

Having already lost his wallet Johannes also has his bike stolen but remains remarkably unstressed, a credit to both Harry’s handsome company and the drugs.

The pair enjoy a continental breakfast, without having a plan to pay for it, and walk around the city chatting, flirting and exploring Berlin together.

They discuss what they want in life, the meaning of happiness, thoughts on religion before naming their imaginary children and playing guessing the profession of passing strangers.

Thoughts are shared on dating apps, casual sex and relationships: when we first see Harry he is chatting on Grindr and taking naked photos. Harry later revealing his tinder and Grindr profiles with Johannes is a sweet sharing moment.

Once Harry learns Johannes is a dancer his continued requests for the German to dance for him become an amusing running theme but Johannes repeatedly finds ways to leave Harry’s pleas unfulfilled.

A surprising third act reveal is heavily implied in one of the opening shots yet still feels like a shock to the audience and one of the characters.

In the German sunshine the film uses continued close-ups and closely cropped two-shots, helping create a sense of intimacy and a tight focus on the two characters.

Capturing the attraction and chemistry between the two men Koutsoulis and Morrison give effortlessly natural performances: with the combination of the acting and banter-filled script it could almost be a pair of real people being followed around Berlin with a camera.

While it may possibly be no more than a brief meaningful connection, it is still easy to hope something happens between the pair before Harry has to get his flight.

Boy Meets Boy is a likeable and welcome companion piece to such two-handers as Weekend and Before Sunrise.

Boy Meets Boy’premiered at the 35th BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival and is available to screen as part of BFI Flare until 28 March as part of the UK-wide digital programme on BFI Player.

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