– I really liked how the author of “Mate” shows the process of a teenager’s perception of what kind of character he should become – writes our reviewer, who watched the film by the Australian creator. “Mate” was shown at LFF during the screening devoted to short dramas that evoke strong emotions in the viewers.

Every boy has a moment in his life when he comes face to face with the image of the man he should become. Someone calls him a “real man” and someone calls him a father. Someone gives him the definition of toxic masculinity, someone else makes films about failed box office movies that later become cult classics and grow entire generations of subcultures. And someone else writes books that will never reach beyond a small circle of readers.

I liked the film “Mate” directed by George-Alex Nagle precisely because it seeks a new approach to this issue. Touching on the eternal problem of boys growing up and their initiation, the author tries to approach this problem from the other side.

The main character is a teenager lost in a new world and trying to cope. There is also a father – an irresponsible, aggressive and expressive man who once abandoned his son and now tries to pass on to him the knowledge he has acquired. But he quickly loses his enthusiasm.

I really liked how the author of “Mate” shows the process of a teenager’s perception of what kind of character he should become. Initially, the hero treats his father very carefully, even with fear. He looks at him through the eyes of a child, but with a deeply hidden desire to become just like him. During this process, he opens up and prepares to accepts changes. After understanding who his father is and how he treats him, the boy’s thoughts begin to take a different direction. He sees how his father communicates with his friends, how he treats women, work, hobbies. How he curses and cannot accept the present and longs for the past where, in his opinion, everything was good. He sees how he escapes from his problems, how his father attacks the weaker and is shamed by the strong.

Our hero begins to perceive his father not as an ideal figure, but he begins to understand that he is exactly the person he would not like to become. He is the opposite of his ideals and dreams.

As a viewer, I even had the impression that the hero was beginning to fear that one day he would become just like his father. He begins to realize that his father was once in his shoes, too, when he had to choose who to become and made a mistake. Now he is angry at the whole world, he is angry because he cannot and does not want to change anything.

Despite everything, it can be said that the father fulfilled his task of raising his son to some extent – he made him understand what kind of person the boy would not like to be and what he should not do. It changed his way of perceiving the world, his concept of masculinity, courage and authority. And now, for an older boy, these concepts look completely different. Now the irresponsible, aggressive and self-confident father has lost his authority for him and rather evokes pity, compassion and the hidden love of the child who, despite everything, cannot leave his father.

Yurii Boiko

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