camp belvidere
Still from ‘Camp Belvidere’

Girls Camp Anyone?

If you happen to find that you have a spare forty minutes free during your day, I highly recommend that you spend it watching the latest short production from Recluse films.

‘Camp Belvidere’, produced and co-directed by Astrid Ovalles, is a little gem of a film set at a Girls’ Camp in the 1950s.

The story follows Rose (Molly Way), a young and vibrant leader at Camp Belvidere who strikes up an unlikely friendship with an older woman.

Gin, the camp nurse, is a composed and closeted woman who finds herself full of internal conflict when the youthful and beautiful Rose turns her attention upon her.

In battling her attraction to Rose and struggling with the implications of being a lesbian in an era in which homosexuality is largely shunned, Gin finds it increasingly challenging to be valid to herself and do what she feels is suitable for Rose. Each actor seems to have invested a real emotional depth and conviction into their character, but the stunning Astrid Ovalles deserves special mention.

Ovalles turns in a remarkable performance as the restrained and sexually stifled Gin. Her ability to convey the character’s conflicting emotional state through subtle facial gestures and natural ease in the delivery of Gin’s dialogue (think Jennifer Beals as the stoic Bette Porter in The L Word ) is lovely.

As with most shorts, the story is a little compacted, making the characters feel slightly underdeveloped. The first sex scene comes in rather abruptly – within the first 5 minutes – before any actual character development has occurred.

That said, however, there is still wonderful poetry to the film combined with Ovalles’s talent for acting (and, umm, did I mention her intense physical beauty?) Camp Belvidere is definitely worth a watch.

In addition, some lovely cinematography is happening, and the creators appear to have committed to an honest representation of the 1950s, utilising props and costumes that appear true to the era.

Overall, Recluse film has created a wonderfully sensual short film, and Camp Belvidere makes for a great addition to any LGBT film collection.

I’ll certainly add it to mine and hope to see many more films from this talented team of filmmakers.