Out Film: ‘Mario’

(scene from ‘Mario’)

After successfully making the rounds of the international film festival circuit, Mario, a gay-themed movie steeped in the world of professional European soccer will finally be available in the U.S. via Video On Demand October 30.

The film follows Swiss-German soccer hopeful Mario (Max Hubacher) who is assigned housing with a new-teammate, dark and swarthy Leon (Aaron Altaras), a striker from Hanover, Germany.

Chemistry (or biology) is what it is, and one night during a video game session, a bout of tickling leads to a kiss.

Passions now ignited, the real story of Mario begins as the two young athletes face many obstacles, both personal and professional, as their dreams of becoming soccer stars loom in the distance.

There are swirling rumors among team mates, tamping down concerns by veteran sports agents, a threat of blackmail, and personal demons to address that have been long-buried in the pursuit of athletic achievement.

Credit director Marcel Gisler for developing the palpable chemistry between Altaras and Hubacher throughout the film.

The film had its premiere at BFI Flare London LGBTQ Film Festival in early April this year, and premiered in North America at Miami’s Outshine Film Festival later in spring.

The Swiss film was so well-received it managed to take home trophies in the ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Supporting Actress’ categories at the most recent Swiss Film Awards.

The Guardian called the film “a heartfelt and human drama with the texture of truth and characters to care about.”

The Independent wrote, “Every gay man will instantly connect with either Mario or Leon and their relatable worries of life and love.”

And The Hollywood Reporter hailed “the small, very human moments” of the movie that ensures Mario “feels authentic and is, finally, moving.”

This heart-warming rollercoaster of a film, set on and off the field, offers a dynamic and realistic picture of how gay professional athletes are still struggling to live their authentic lives in the 21st century.