Even Cowboys Get to Cry

A short film (20 minutes) by Mees Peijnenburg
[Original title: Cowboys Janken Ook]

Completed in July 2013 it tells the story of Sven and Gijs who are best friends. They do absolutely everything together, clubbing, just mucking about or simply pondering life. Their intimacy is such that one of them can even stroll blithely into a room where the other is having sex.

Sven and Gijs were going to grow up to be strong and fearless men. They were the best of friends, more than brothers, and they knew each other as well as they knew themselves. They planned to live the rest of their lives together.

But everything changes: Sven gets involved in a fight one night, Gijs tries to intervene and sustains a blow to the head which sends him into a coma. There’s no knowing if he’ll pull through and their friendship is tested to the limits.

The film was first shown at the Netherlands Film Festival (25 September – 4 October, 2013) and won the Dutch Film Producers Award. Later nominated in various European and International film festivals, it picked up several other awards.

Apart from being a really excellent short film it is interesting from another point of view, which is the changing moral values of society, dictating what is acceptable on screen viewing.

On screen nudity has always been a hot topic and subjected to censorship. Things have progressed to the point where it is now quite acceptable to view male frontal nudity, at least in most European countries. This is perhaps not the case in America where moral attitudes tend to be much more conservative.

This film pushes the boundaries somewhat further with a scene in hospital where Gijs is shown in bed, naked, and with an erection. It’s a wholly appropriate scene and in no way pornographic, but it does beg the question about which countries would find this acceptable and which would censor it.

In Dutch with English subtitles.

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