A short film that’s long on empathy
Two little boys sitting on a swing . . . what could be more innocent than that? Two little boys sitting on a swing . . . what could be wrong with that?
Two little boys sitting on a swing.
So what? Who cares? Nothing, nobody, until family, society, and culture judge them. Only then is their natural interaction deemed wrong only to be suppressed to manifest in a tragedy later in life.
Two Little Boys is a short film by Iranian/American director Farbod Khoshtinat, an underground filmmaker in his native Iran until he escaped to Malaysia at 19 years old and eventually made his way to Los Angeles. Farbod has worked on a variety of short films such A Persian Affair, Love, Fear, and feature films that have screened at the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.
His award-winning short film about democracy in Iran has screened in venues such as the United Nations, the Director’s Guild of America, and MPAA. It was personally awarded by U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Two Little Boys focuses on a closeted bully who refuses to come out when he is challenged by his victim’s confession of love towards him, leading to unexpected and shocking consequences.
From the first frame, the film is tense and disturbing. Within the short film’s few quick 13 minutes, the viewer is captivated by one character’s anger, the other’s fear, and, ultimately, by both of their overall frustration with the situation that simply life itself has given them.
Who is the aggressor, and who the victim? For whom should the viewer feel empathy? Both, perhaps. That’s how the filmmaker sees it. “I really do not take any side in my film. Can we really blame him for the way he became? If his parents accepted him for who he really is, would this suppression still exist to grow into this anger, grow into this aggression?” Farbod asks about one of the characters.
To hear the director’s own views on the inspiration for this film and the message he hopes to convey, listen to John Sailer’s interview with Farbod Khoshtinat in this Out In Jersey podcast, in which the filmmaker also discusses what it’s like to be gay in Iran, and how homophobia is, unfortunately, pervasive throughout the world
And view the preview for Two Little Boys as it makes the rounds at film festivals throughout the world.
This topical short screened at the 2020 Brooklyn Film Festival and was a finalist at the 2020 Manhattan Short Film Festival in September. It has also screened at the Oscar-qualifying Out On Film: Atlanta’s LGBTQ Film Festival, the Oscar-qualifying Nashville Film Festival, Norwich Film Festival, the International Short Film Festival of Cyprus, and at Ireland’s Kerry International Film Festival.