Monday, 31 March 2014

Queer Magic

On a recent visit to Warsaw's MoMA I got lost in the maze that lies behind the museum's interior walls. Suddenly I found myself alone in a dark room with a very calm film.

Slow-motion, next to no movement. Water, the sky, a forest, a curly boy. It was puzzling to me how a plotless video, with long black-screen breaks in between medidative scenes, managed to not only keep my attention (who finds most videos in museums utterly boring) but to captivate me.

Sure, there is the simple beauty of Wojcieh Puś' Magic Hour: When do we ever take 50 seconds to observe a cloud in the crucial moment of sunset? 
But what really kept me sitting in the dark for over twelve minutes was the mix of nature and the camera's homoerotic desire. The boy's face as it appeared from the water, a wet shirt stuck to his torso, his back as he ran through a forest: Everything suggested an admiration for nature that necessarily included him, and that was intensely reminiscent of Alain Guiraudie's excellent Stranger by the Lake (2013). 

Stranger by the Lake (2013) trailer

Like Guiraudie, who has declared that porn should by no means have a monopoly over sex, Puś likes to go beyond mere allusions. And so, in between clouds and dandelion seeds, Magic Hour includes jets of sperm flying through a baby-blue sky. In slow-motion. Is it the curly boy's, or that of a stranger he met by the water?

Either way, its flight is very graceful. And it can only make one look forward to the coming of summer. 

Watch the whole of Magic hour here or its trailer here.  

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