In the age of “bromance” with films like I Love You, Man, what does genuine male intimacy look like and mean?
Filmmaker Hank Mandel explores this issue through his film Five Friends. Here, he discusses the making of the film and various reactions to its showing, along with hosting a discussion about male relationships.
We live in the age of the “bromance.” Never has pop culture been so fascinated with male friendships. What do they look like? Why are they important? And how do we talk about them without seeming … unmanly? Films like I Love You, Man or the recent GQ article entitled “Are You Man Enough for the Man-Date?” are just a couple of examples of how society is wrestling with what male relationships look like in our evolving society. But even the word “bromance” implies a certain awkwardness and uncertainty about how to refer to these close relationships between men.
Early American writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard said, “My father always used to say that when you die, if you’ve got five real friends, you’ve had a great life.” Five Friends is the story of how one man sought to live that life. Beautifully shot, from the mountains of Southern California to the New England coastline, Five Friends captures the intimate relationships of a 65-year-old man and his five friends as they reflect on their lives together, support each other in personal struggle, and mine the depths of meaningful friendship. Success, conflict, marriage, divorce, fatherhood, children, and dying. These men reveal their fears and dreams to one another in a profound exploration of vulnerability and transparency among men. From touching moments to horrific tragedy and darkness, the spectrum of human emotion colors this breathtaking portrait.
This delicate and often taboo subject of male intimacy is navigated by experts in the field. Michael Kimmel is a sociologist at SUNY Stonybrook and author of more than 20 books on men and masculinity. He provides unique insight from his study of how men relate to each other and the obstacles to men connecting with each other. Alan Frow is a pastor in Southern California who teaches and speaks to men around the world in a variety of cultures. Frow offers a profound perspective of intimacy that exposes some of the hidden insecurities that lie beneath the fragile masculine façade. As these five friendships unfold, our experts discuss the complex relational pressures acting on men and reveal the increasing importance of confronting these issues.
Men need men, it’s just that we don’t talk about it. Five Friends is a ground-breaking documentary that forces the conversation and explores what it means for men to be loving, transparent, vulnerable, and even intimate with each other.
—Taken from the film's website.
Cosponsored by the Men's Awareness Project.
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