Main cast: George Taylor (Philip), Eric Klotzsch (Jonas), and Michal Grabowski (Boris)
Director: Nils Bökamp
Nils Bökamp has both written and directed a movie that is all about sexually objectifying pretty men. In fact, the only difference between You and I and a soft porn flick is the fact that this one pretends to have a story.
The story is a simple one. Jonas, a photographer, plans a trip to Uckermark with his good friend, Philip. Despite the fact that Philip speaks in English and Jonas in German, there is no communication issue between those two when Philip drops by from England to join Jonas. They soon pick up a hitchhiker, Boris. Now, Jonas is straight. Philip is gay, and Jonas is okay with that. Boris isn’t sure at first, but he soon begins indulging in sexy times with Philip, much to Jonas’s consternation, as the latter finds himself playing third wheel in what is supposed to be a trip between just him and his BFF. In fact, he and Boris eventually end up having a passive-aggressive thing to see whom Philip likes best.
The only reason this movie is as long as it is is because it spends a lot of time lingering on the main cast’s bodies and focusing on the things they do. The first few minutes are a long, lingering scene of Jonas peeing into the toilet bowl. Don’t worry, you can’t see anything – that’s later. Oh, and the skinny dipping scene, don’t forget that – every movie of this sort needs one. The only thing this movie stops short of doing is to show the actual lovemaking scenes, but that’s okay, the small, teasing glimpses of pee-pees and rear ends can be more tantalizing than outright nudity and fake humping.
Oh, and then there are the cute homoerotic moments. The skinny dipping scene, naturally, and Jonas sulking as he watches Philip and Boris having a good time together. Jonas telling Philip that Philip, who says that he doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life anymore, should move to Germany, into Jonas’s place, because Jonas believes that Philip needs a man like him in Philip’s life. Platonically, of course. Or is it?
Ah, and that’s where this movie teases the audience cruelly, and is actually better for it – it leaves the question of whether the intimacy between Philip and Jonas is of a platonic nature or latent sexual attraction entirely up to the audience. The final few scenes are open to all kinds of interpretation, but one thing is for sure: the two men playing Philip and Jonas have an easy chemistry between them that makes it so easy to believe that they can be friends, eventual lovers, or maybe both. Meanwhile, Boris is a cute guy who tries, but ends up just demonstrating how out of his depths he is when it comes to trying to steal Philip away from Jonas. Both the other two men are too self-absorbed and even selfish, to such a point that the only person they can get along with is the other person. You can interpret the whole thing as Jonas deliberately breaking Philip and Boris apart because he can’t bear the thought of sharing his best friend with anyone else, but the fact that Philip allows it to happen, if this is the case, only reinforces the fact that these are two men who like being together, either as friends or lovers, and both men have no compunctions in hurting anyone who tries to do a Yoko Ono to them.
At any rate, You and I is an unexpectedly fascinating movie. I admit that I initially thought this would be some trashy, clichéd “straight jock turned gay by sensitive BFF” story, but it ends up being something a bit more than that. Okay, so the plot takes its own sweet time to get anywhere, but the scenery is really nice, and whatever draggy pacing it may have is made up by the main cast’s willingness to drop trousers and get cute in a way that turns perfectly simple non-sexual scenarios into what seems like bromance foreplay. I definitely approve of this one.