Director: Marco Kreuzpaintner
Stars: Robert Stadlober, Kostja Ullmann
Available on DVD - order here
In Sommersturm, Steffi Graf lookalike Tobi (Robert Stadlober) lusts for dark-eyed Joachim (Kosta Ullmann), and they are members of the local champion rowing squad. The problem is that the squad is co-ed, and all Joachim can think about is pussy, and tensions start to fray at the national rowing meet, where the Queer Stroke team, a gay squad from Berlin, flash their mesh singlets and tweezed eyebrows in everyone’s faces.
So on, etc., and eventually there’s a storm hence the title and Joachim and Tobi have a fight about the true nature of their relationship. Subplots involve the team coaches making passes at each other and an extremely annoying gay guy trying to seduce a very handsome but avowedly hetero rowing champ from Bavaria.
The program notes for the Copenhagen Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (unintentionally) hilariously warn you what to expect from a film that scores its triumphant ending with a Hi-NRG remix version of the Pet Shop Boys’ “Go West”: ”A boy is secretly in love with his best friend, and at the tender age of 15 this is not something he likes to acknowledge. But the hormones are running wild and if you are best friends you might as well jack of together on the locker room floor.”
Sommersturm doesn’t really add anything to the gay coming-of-age genre and as per usual we’re expected to sympathise with all the gay characters despite their petulant and at times completely appalling behaviour. If a straight guy harrassed a clearly disinterested girl for days and days, everyone would call him a creep and would be happy for the girl when she told him to fuck off and slapped his face. For some reason, when a gay guy pesters a straight guy in the same way, we’re supposed to tsk-tsk the straight guy’s lack of sexual flexibility then complain about homophobia when he punches the offending poofter in the head. Power imbalances shouldn’t give you impunity to act like a dickhead.
Additionally, there’s the now-obligatory cast-of-hotties running around in next to no clothes trying to grab some of each others’ ass. Great eye-candy, but isn’t a bit of a worry when high-minded, gay-targeted films start to look like gender-inverse versions of Porkys?