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A poignant journey of a young man’s first sexual experience.


In Jesse Ung’s poignant gay short film, ‘Firsts’, vulnerability takes center stage as Steven (played with nuanced brilliance by Kelvin Ta), a Chinese student in New Zealand, grapples with the labyrinth of his sexuality. As a gay man ensnared in the suffocating expectations of familial tradition, Steven’s clandestine rendezvous with Andrew (aptly portrayed by David Shi) becomes a compelling narrative of self-discovery.

Ung’s narrative skill is evident as he navigates the tumultuous terrain of Steven’s inner conflict, deftly juxtaposing the tender moments of exploration with the palpable weight of societal scrutiny. Esther Wee’s portrayal of Steven’s well-intentioned yet stifling mother adds a layer of poignancy, underscoring the timeless struggle between filial piety and personal autonomy.

The film’s intimate setting, confined to Steven’s modest apartment, serves as a crucible for raw emotion, expertly captured by Kirk Pflaum’s cinematography. Each frame pulsates, mirroring Steven’s tumultuous journey towards self-acceptance.

Ta’s portrayal of Steven is nothing short of revelatory, capturing the tremors of vulnerability and the resolute defiance of societal norms with equal finesse. Shi’s portrayal of Andrew provides a luminous counterbalance, radiating a kindness that serves as a beacon of hope amidst Steven’s tumultuous voyage.

In ‘Firsts,’ Ung paints a vivid tapestry of human experience, weaving together threads of courage and vulnerability. Through this cinematic journey, audiences are not merely spectators, but active participants in a symphony of emotion and truth.

Firsts Gay Short Film


Runtime: 17 min
Genre: ,

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