Continuing where we left off last week, the fifth title in the Boys on Film collection from Peccadillo Pictures is Candy Boy. As with Hard Love, In Too Deep, American Boy and Protect Me From What I Want, this is a hit`n'miss selection. But, with nine titles on offer, it's never too a long wait before something good comes along.

The standout is Marialy Rivas's Blokes (2010), which was adapted from a story by Pedro Lemebel and is set in Chile in 1986. Initially, its focus falls on adolescent Alfonso David's struggle to understand the sensations he feels when he is crushed against other men on a bus or watches a football match at his local Santiago park. But, just as David realises he is developing a crush on 16 year-old neighbour Pedro Campos and keeps hoping to catch sight of him alone or making out with his girlfriend, an even ruder awakening comes in the form of the police raiding the neighbourhood to flush out opponents of General Augusto Pinochet and his dictatorial regime.

Sensitively capturing a naive youth's first sexual and political stirrings, this is a poignant, but potent memoir of a pitiless time that makes adept contrasts between the protective snooping of mother Paula Zúñiga and the sinister intrusion of the counter-revolutionary forces. Indeed, by adopting such realist restraint, Rivas succeeds in avoiding sentimentality as he reveals how a simply act of kindness could have such tragic consequences.

The extent to which a tense political situation can impact upon the coming out process is further examined in Connor Clements's graduation film, James (2008), which shows how the strict social and religious codes operating in Northern Ireland limit the options of a confused teenager seeking a little understanding and advice.

Unable to confide in bickering parents Margaret Goodman and Gerry Doherty and terrified of being taunted by the school bullies, timid loner Niall Wright decides to trust teacher Matthew Jennings in the hope he can help him come to terms with emotions he knows will set him further apart from his seemingly uncaring community. But, while he is sympathetic, Jennings is all too aware of the lines he is unable to cross and his perceived betrayal prompts Wright to risk a reckless encounter with stranger Louis Rolston in a public convenience.

Despite its discussion of faith, family and factionalism, this rite of passage is as much about the restrictions that prevent teachers from guiding troubled students with nowhere else to turn as it is about sexual discovery. The references to Tennessee Williams might be a bit awkward, while the episodic structure often feel self-conscious. But the performances are admirable and, for all its melancholic empathy, this has an underlying darkness that is decidedly disconcerting.

Also worth noting are a couple of contributions from French director Pascal-Alex Vincent, who is best known for the 2009 feature, Give Me Your Hand. City boy Julien Gauthier reluctantly goes to stay on unsuspecting grandfather Jean Haas's farm in Far West (2003). But his stealthy pursuit of labourer Alexis Michalik is exposed in all its naked lust when camp pals Gilles Guillain and Tony Granger arrive in the country to cheer him up. However, the tone is considerably darker in Candy Boy (2007), which makes solid use of the anime graphic style to chronicle the relationship between the eponymous teenager (voiced by Julien Bouanich) and newly arrived rebel Samy (Aymen Saïdi) as they discover the link between a river mill and the health scare at the orphanage run by Mother Superior (Maïk Darah) and Sister Prudence (Chloé Berthier).

Elsewhere on the disc, Roberto Fiesco teams Javier Escobar and Jorge Adrián Espíndola as an unemployed businessman and a disaffected mute student who somehow find a way to communicate after moving from a park bench to a seedy hotel room in David (2005), a challenging take on the story `Man and Boy Sitting in a Chair' that was co-written by Mexican auteur Julián Hernández, whose acclaimed features include A Thousand Clouds of Peace and Broken Sky (2003); Brit John Lochland sends jilted David Paisley into a sauna for eye-opening encounters with handsome stranger Tom Frederic and swaggering rent boy Tom Swash in Sweat (2008); Sam McConnell exposes the casual homophobia that exists in backwoods America in Two Young Men, UT, which follows high school student George Loomis and supposedly straight bartender Art Gager on a wild ride to a party in Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats; Nick Corporon's Last Call (both 2009) gives Travis Dixon the opportunity to reflect on his romance with David Devora over the three shots served by barmaid Jody Jaress, who promises to put everything right if he can prove he was doing the right thing when he caused a car crash by running a red light; and Michael J. Saul has Heath Daniels relive a `true life tragedy' in Go Go Reject (2010), as his skinny yoghurt salesman draws on the support of buddies Matthew Bridges and Iva Turner to prove that looks aren't everything as he tries to make it as a dancer in the beefcake bars of West Hollywood.

A quick glance will confirm that the punning titles are not the strong suit of the Boys on Film series and Pacific Rim will doubtless raise a few eyebrows. However, it contains a handful of intriguing shorts, the pick of which is Sophie Hyde's My Last Ten Hours With You (2007), an alternatively brooding and playful study of a long-term couple's break-up that bears a passing similarity to Tom Cullen and Chris New's hook-up in Andrew Haigh's Nottingham saga, Weekend (2011).

Although he doesn't quite know why, Joel McIlroy is leaving Australia for a new challenge abroad. His case is packed and he is loaded down with language tapes. But his departure means the end of his largely happy relationship with Toby Schmitz, who is even more puzzled why his lover has to go. Over the course of their last remaining hours together, they drink, reminisce, squabble, make up, make love and briefly attend to going away party their friends have organised on the beach. But the inevitable has to happen, even though neither Schmitz or McIlroy is quite willing or ready to say goodbye.

Despite being a touch tonally cumbersome, this is an affecting study of the difficulty that even gay men have in expressing their emotions. Keeping the camera close, but retaining a knowing discretion, Hyde coaxes splendid performances out of McIlroy and Schmitz, whose shifts between macho bluffing and mawkish blubbing convey both the pain of parting and the necessity of moving on. The real reason for the separation is never given and this ambiguity only reinforces the sense of dread each man feels as zero hour approaches. Ultimately, the dialogue is not as sharp as Haigh's, but this still makes a more than worthy companion piece.

The other offering to note here is Darcy Prendergast's Ron the Zookeeper (2007), a seven-minute claymation comedy that was very loosely inspired by the experiences of the director's zookeeper father. The story couldn't be simpler. Ron (Marc Gallagher) has been ordered to get a sperm sample to facilitate a grey panda breeding programme. However, Sushi (Prendergast himself) could not be less interested in procreation and would rather be left alone to read. Frustrated by his failure to get results, Ron resorts to panda porn and Viagra and quickly wishes he had left nature to take its own course.

Banned from the graduation screening by the Australian Film School, this is, in all probability the rudest stop-motion movie ever made and is bound to test the good tasteometer of even the most liberal-minded viewer. But an amusing idea is hilariously handled and it's easy to see why Adam Elliot hired Prendergast to be his assistant on the Toni Collette and Philip Seymour Hoffman-voiced gem, Mary and Max (2009).

Completing the line-up are Singaporean Boo Junfeng's Tanjong Rhu (2008), a shocking, fact-based exposé of the plight facing gay men in the Lion City that harks back to 1993 for the story of how Nick Shen Weijun ventured into the eponymous casuarina grove in search of solace after breaking up with boyfriend Scott Lei, only to be arrested and publicly caned after being caught in a police sting by officer Kelvin Ong; Australian Craig Boreham's Drowning, which slowly reveals why Xavier Samuel is so determined to introduce girlfriend Tess Haubrich to best buddy Miles Szanto, even though he knows he is still grieving for his recently deceased brother; Hannah Hillard's Franswa Sharl, a true life coming-of-age saga set in 1980 that follows 12 year-old Callan McAuliffe's bid to impress stern father John Batchelor while on holiday in Fiji by borrowing a bikini and entering a beauty contest; Christopher Banks's Teddy, which accompanies Brit Brian Moore on a fool's errand to New Zealand to try and lure old flame Chris Tempest away from new boyfriend Alan Granville; Brent Anbe's Honolulu-set Ajumma! Are You Krazy??? (all 2009), which sees middle-aged spinsters Thea Matsuda, Tessie Magaoay and Cari Mizumoto team up with security guard Kaui Kauhi in an attempt to oust slutty Kawena Chun and charm visiting Korean soap star Michael Hsia; and South Korean Kim Jho Gwang-soo's Love, 100°C (2010), a tale of empowerment that turns on hearing impaired student Kim Do-jin finding the strength to stand up to some bullies after a bathhouse encounter with masseur Kwak Jae-won.

There's an Oscar winner among the 10 shorts on Bad Romance, which are loosely linked by the theme of amour fou. However, the most enticing title is Etienne Desrosiers's Mirrors (2007), which stars Quebecois wunderkind writer-director Xavier Dolan as a conflicted teenager arriving in a lakeside idyll for a summer holiday with brother Maxime Allaire and parents André Nadeau and Julie Beauchemin. Everyone chivvies him to flirt with the local girls, but Dolan is much more interested in musician Stéphane Demers and his pianist friend Patrick Martin.

As he demonstrated in directing himself in I Killed My Mother (2009) and Heartbeats (2010), Dolan is a more than decent actor. Here he plays against the more loquacious types essayed in his own features to capture the anguish of uncertainty experienced by so many youths questioning their sexual inclination. Stylishly photographed by Stefan Ivanov, this is an understated, but keenly observed and deeply personal account of recognising signs that everyone else has missed and following one's own instincts rather than striving to meet expectations.

Equally engaging is Tamer Ruggli's Cappuccino (2010), which carries faint echoes of Dolan's first feature, as Swiss teenager Benjamin Décosterd struggles to cope with the cosseting concern of his mother, Manuela Biedermann. Painfully shy, but enthusiastically engaged in a hectic fantasy life, Décosterd has long had a crush on classmate Anton Ciurlia. However, he is involved in a steamy hetero romance and Décosterd can barely bring himself to listen to the sordid details when the pair go out for dinner. Yet, as the evening wears on and various inhibition-lowering substances begin to take effect, Décosterd begins to wonder just how straight Ciurlia really is.

Unfortunately, several scenes between Décosterd and the over-protective Biedermann seem to have ended up on the cutting-room floor after Ruggli decided to place the emphasis on the date with Ciurlia. Yet this remains a thoughtful study of misreading situations and learning the difference between satisfying physical urges and experiencing genuine intimacy. First love is hardly a new subject, but Ruggli shrewdly compares Décosterd and Biedermann's desperation to find a soulmate and their eventual rapprochement is optimistically sweet.

As for the Best Live Action winner, that is Dane Joachim Back's The New Tenants (2009), disappointing black comedy that opens with gay couple David Rakoff and Jamie Harrold moving into an apartment whose last occupant met a grizzly end. However, their discovery of this bleak history is nothing compared to their encounters with nosy neighbour Helen Hanft, covetous husband Vincent D'Onofrio and short-fused drug dealer Kevin Corrigan.

Boldly offbeat, but lacking the courage of its quirky convictions, this has its moments as Anders Thomas Jensen's screenplay lurches between absurd and implausible twists. But, despite the best efforts of an accomplished cast, this is more likely to induce cringes than laughter and one is left wondering what on earth the other four nominees must have been like if this misfire merited the Academy Award.

Also on offer are Tomer Velkoff's The Traitor, in which the director stars as the longtime partner of Shmulik Goldstein and resorts to using sex as a means of postponing conversation after learning over supper that Goldstein has found an apartment and intends moving out; Kim Jho Kwang-soo's Just Friends? (both 2009), a kookily bittersweet dramedy that opens with a song about standing tough in the face of homophobia before following chef Lee Je-hoon on a visit to soldier lover Seo Ji-hoo, who would prefer to play things down in front of comrades Moon Seong-kwon and Son Cheol-min and his doting mother, Lee Seon-joo; Alain Hain's Curious Thing, which combines audio clips of gay men discussing the difficulty of fancying straight guys with a vignette about buddies Danny Bernardy and Matthew Wilkas drifting apart when they realise the nature of their friendship has changed; Christoph Scheerman's Cake and Sand, which wonders whether Bartholomew Sammut and Jan Andreesen's outwardly blissful relationship hits the rocks because of issues inside or outside the bedroom; Mysh Rozanov's Watch Over Me, a simmering thriller in which secretly homosexual army recruit Guy Kapulnik is close to completing special training when bigoted commanding officer Zvika Fohrman orders him to assault Davidi Hoffman, a gay man handing out leaflets in a Tel Aviv bar; New Zealander Christopher Banks's Communication (all 2010), an adaptation of a one-act play by David Blakey that has Orthodox Jew Rudi Vodanovich revisit the house he has inherited from former teacher Alexander Campbell, which he will forever associate with the deceased's boyfriend, Richard Lambeth; and Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein's The Strange Ones (2011), which forces motel worker Merritt Wever to decide who is telling the truth when she comes across young boy Tobias Campbell and older man David Call swimming in the outdoor pool.

A pool is also to the fore in Dominic Leclerc's Nightswimming (2010), the best of the 10 titles assembled for Cruel Britannia, which brings the Boys on Film series right up to date. Echoing the themes explored in Protect Me From What I Want (2009), the deceptively simple story centres on teenage runaways Harry Eden and Linzey Cocker who beg watchman Tim Dantay to be allowed to stay for the night when he catches them breaking into a rundown bathhouse. At first, Dantay appears to be a Good Samaritan. But, when Eden fails in his efforts to persuade Cocker to sleep with him, he turns his attention on to the older man, who has been watching the couple from the shadows.

There is something Sartre-esque about this Huis Clos scenario, as everybody seems to have an agenda and the audience is asked to decide whether innocence is being corrupted and, if so, who is the victim. Making atmospheric use of his Victorian location, Leclerc does enough with his merciless building of suspense and sly refusal to judge or ally with the characters to suggest that a feature bow cannot be far away.

David Leon and Marcus McSweeney also impress with Man and Boy (2010), which similarly declines to allow the viewer to take a passive role in recounting the true story of Scott Campbell, who fell to his death from the balcony of his Bolton flat after being terrorised by a band of misinformed vigilantes in 2008. Scripted by David Leon and Rashid Razaq, the action is sparked by teenager Calum McNab telling father Geoff Bell how he went home with new upstairs tenant Eddie Marsan to take some photographs. But, even though Bell goes steaming off with a baseball bat to confront his son's supposed attacker, things are clearly not what they seem and it gradually emerges that, while Marsan's past might be shrouded in mystery, McNab's version of event is far from entirely reliable.

Expertly played by Marsan and Bell and with McNab adeptly giving nothing away, this is a deliberately provocative insight into the emotive issue of paedophilia and the ease with which innocent intentions can be misconstrued and made to see sinister and perverse. Fizzing with foul and aggressive language, the screenplay nails the knee-jerk ignorance of those who act before ascertaining the facts. But it also gets into the mind of the kids who make accusations in the hope of covering up their own insecurities.

The other titles are markedly less consistent. However, David Ward's All Over Brazil (2003) is a hugely enjoyable and yet deceptively serious domestic saga that is set during the 1974 World Cup and reveals what happens when football mad dad Frank Gallagher wanders away from the telly to see what glam rock-loving teenage son Iain de Caestecker is doing with sister Gemma Morrison's make-up and platform boots. Aleem Kahn's Diana (2009) also has its moments, as Neeraj Singh delivers a touching performance as a pre-op transsexual who works as a prostitute to pay for her treatment and spends the day on which the Princess of Wales died in Paris distressed by the fact that nobody seems to be paying any attention to a much greater tragedy that has happened in India.

Rounding off the selection are Sybil Mair's The Chef's Letter (2008), which focuses on married cook Jonathan Firth as he awaits a response to a message he perhaps wishes he hadn't sent to the man with whom he has become besotted; Harry Wootliff's I Don't Care, which originally screened in Channel 4's Coming Up strand and follows aspiring artist Iwan Rheon as he leaves bedridden mother Di Botcher with carer Helen Grady, only to have his 30th birthday jaunt around the sleepy coastal town of Porthpunnet turned on its head by free spirit David Leon; Ben Peters's Downing (both 2010), in which 17 year-old Scot Jamie Brotherston gets his own back on homophobe William Wild when he makes a play for best friend Krystina Coates at a drunken house party; Hong Khaou's Spring, which reworks a story by Bruce Benderson to examine the shifting power dynamics between master Jonathan Keane and slave Chris O'Donnell during an increasingly delusive S&M session; Jason Bradbury's We Once Were Tide, a study of regrets and unspoken truths that is set on the Isle of Wight and reveals how Alexander Scott copes with a rift in his relationship with Tristan Bernays and the sudden decline of his terminally ill mother, Mandy Aldridge; and Faryal's What You Looking At? (all 2011), which captures what happens when drag queen Michael Twaits and hijab-clad Muslim woman Hussina Raja get stuck in a lift and begin realising they have more in common than they might have thought.