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Romeos

Charismatic leads hold a passing interest, yet "Romeos" will be just another average feature on the LGBT circuit.

With:
With: Rick Okon, Maximilian Befort, Liv Lisa Fries, Felix Brocke, Silke Geertz, Gilles Tschudi, Sigrid Burkholder, Johannes Schwab, Tessa Lukat, Ben Gageik, Katrin Hess, Mira H. Benser, Lilli Lorenz. (German, English dialogue)

A female-to-male transgendered youth, once Miriam, now Lukas, impatiently awaits his full transformation in Sabine Bernardi’s decent but uninspired debut “Romeos.” While the helmer-scripter nicely upends presumptions about sexuality — Lukas identifies himself as a gay man — she’s less sure-footed with her narrative, told in a circular manner that often feels hamfistedly written for plot rather than believability. Luckily, charismatic leads hold a passing interest, yet “Romeos” will be just another average feature on the LGBT circuit.

Lukas (Rick Okon) is undergoing testosterone treatment, but he’s a few months away from surgically having his breasts removed. He certainly looks like a boy, yet because his gender is still officially female, he’s housed in the girls dorm during his year of community service in Cologne. Luckily, lesbian best-friend Ine (Liv Lisa Fries) is also there, and she introduces him to the gay scene, where he’s bowled over by the palpable sexuality of hottie Fabio (Maximilian Befort). The attraction is mutual, but Lukas can’t let Fabio know he’s pre-op transgendered. Befort’s charisma and Okon’s sensitivity rise above the run-of-the-mill material, but generally unimaginative lensing doesn’t help, nor the Yas-like music, interpolated without finesse.

Romeos

Germany

Production: A Boogiefilm, ZDF-Das kleine Fernsehspiel production. (International sales: Media Luna New Films, Cologne.) Produced by Janna Velber, Kristina Loebbert. Directed, written by Sabine Bernardi.

Crew: Camera (color), Moritz Schultheiss; editor, Renata Salazar Ivancan; music, Roland Appel; production designer, Christiane Schmid, costume designer, Verena Reuter. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 17, 2011. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Rick Okon, Maximilian Befort, Liv Lisa Fries, Felix Brocke, Silke Geertz, Gilles Tschudi, Sigrid Burkholder, Johannes Schwab, Tessa Lukat, Ben Gageik, Katrin Hess, Mira H. Benser, Lilli Lorenz. (German, English dialogue)

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