Directed by: #TomWright
Stockholm explores a variety of complex emotional topics such as gay sexual experiences, abuse and the effects trauma can pose onto a victim. Tom Wright, director of Stockholm, invites the audience to look deeper than what people portray on the outside. Many people suffer in silence if they have been through a traumatic or abusive experience and tend to either punish themselves or drown their sorrows in any way possible, whether this be through alcohol, drugs or perhaps meaningless relationships. Stockholm is a very real representation of an underrepresented issue that faces our society today. This saddening short film highlights the knotty experiences of male victims who have been sexually assaulted and live with this sexual shame unable to voice their trauma through fear of not being listened to or because of this taboo that remains around it.
Stockholm begins with two men on a date, it looks warm and inviting with a pleasant atmosphere surrounding the couple as they make eye contact, laugh and flirt with one another. However, things take a turn and the audience witness a passionate encounter between the two in the bathroom which seemed out of place when compared to the first impression of the date who seemed like a placid, calm, seemingly sophisticated gent. At this point Tom Wright introduces a series of flashbacks of our main character Alex and we soon discover that he has met this man before and had walked away from his previous encounter in tears and in a state of fear. It is this panicked reaction which we are then able to deduce that his date is not at all how he presents himself. This encounter has led Alex down a dark path, involving drugs, alcohol, and many futile sexual escapades. Anything, to distract him from the memories of that night and attempt to bury this guilt and shame that he carries round his neck like a noose.
We are quickly brought back to the present as Alex sits with his date Ed and states ‘I don’t remember much.’ As if the memories of that night were nothing and has not been haunting him ever since. His voice becomes lost, and Tom Wright has shown another angle to the story and expresses this view from the victim’s perspective, their story often becomes trampled on by their abuser. Ed comes across as very cocky and confident and completely unsympathetic, he completely disregards Alex’s emotions and has absolutely no remorse for his actions. It is this dismissal, which causes Alex’s emotions to become mixed up, and he begins to doubt himself, and feels this need to let out a tyranny of anger and breakdown but becomes too afraid to let this emotion out. It is only when Alex sees a mental health professional at the end of the film played by Ricki Beadle-Blair, where he allows Alex to take the spotlight and share his story, unfiltered and in a safe environment. Ricki lets Alex become the main character of his own story.
Stockholm was an honest representation and a great narrative. It was artistic, heartfelt and captures the story of many victims within society who feel ashamed to share their experiences and seek help. This is an inspiring piece and highlights the issues that many people within the LGBT community have faced and gives them a voice.