For the Boys

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The Saddest Boy in the World

Some of the nicest surprises in the Tampa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival pop up in the programs of short films. In Kali Ma ("Boys Shorts 1"), a plump, Bollywood-loving Indian mother turns into a suburban embodiment of the Hindu goddess of destruction when she discovers her son has been gay-bashed by a smirking preppy jock at his high school. Though the film ends too abruptly, writer/ director Soman Chainani creates a pleasingly loony saga of revenge.

Jamie Travis' The Saddest Boy in the World ("Boys Shorts 2") is a cheerfully deranged little fable in which Mom cooks whole suckling pigs, stacks of toast, dozens of eggs and maybe a family pet or two for her three morose children — and that's just breakfast. No wonder little Chester tries to flush himself down the toilet.

Serene Hunter (Shorts 1) offers a sexy Parisian, Luc (Eric Debets), who tries halfheartedly to commit to one man but is happier playing the "hunter," as his American boyfriend (writer/director Jason Bushman) points out. Not sure what the point is, but the sex is hot and so is Debets.

Director Michaline Babich builds the suspense in Solace (Shorts 2) as it follows a lonely young man to an assignation with a stranger. The film seems at first to be a cautionary tale about Internet hookups, but evolves into something deeper.

Boys Shorts 1, Sat. Oct. 6, 1 p.m., Tampa Theatre; Mon. Oct. 8, 9:30 p.m., Muvico Baywalk St. Pete. Boys Shorts 2, Tues. Oct. 9, 7 p.m., Tampa Theatre.

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