Summer Storm

Summer Storm (Sommersturm), directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner, is a German film about a summer camp in which teenage crew racing teams compete. The Bavarian team’s best rower, Tobi (played by Robert Stadlober), is a delightful clown. His best friend is Achim (played by Kostja Ullmann). They sometimes jack off together in the high school gym, and they share a tent together at camp. One of the attractions of going to the camp for the boys is the expectation that big-breasted loose women from Berlin will be there. When they arrive at the campsite alongside a beautiful Bavarian lake, Starnberger See, Achim is eager to make love to Sandra (played by Miriam Morgenstern), while her friend Anke (played by Alicja Bachleda-Curus) is attracted to Tobi. The female Berlin team is replaced unexpectedly by the Queerstrokes, a team of gay boys led by muscular is Malte (played by Hanno Koffler), a proud and self-confident rower who will not tolerate homophobic remarks. When he hears that a rich straight boy in the Bavarian group has made a nasty comment, Malte confronts him, forces him to back down, and Malte then pursues him relentlessly for sex. Tobi tries jokingly to start a rumor that he had sex with Anke, but the presence of the gay team brings out Tobi’s true feelings toward Achim. However, Achim rejects Tobi’s attempt to kiss him, and when Anke makes herself available to Tobi for sex, he admits to her that he loves Achim but has been spurned. Alienated from his own group out of embarrassment for being rejected by his longtime buddy, Tobi decides to hang out one afternoon with the Queerstrokes, where goodlooking Leo (played by Marlon Kittel) approaches him respectively yet seductively. Clearly, Summer Storm is a coming-of-age gay film that explains how midteen boys often grow up very fast as soon as they are able to enjoy a summer of personal freedom away from parents. The Queerstrokes actually do exist, as does the Thai volleyball team featured in The Iron Ladies (2001), and a film preview that screened just before Summer Storm at a West Hollywood cinema may indeed whet the appetite of filmviewers for more movies about athletic teams of unabashedly gay competitors. MH

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