Gravidade (2015, 23'32'')

Because he’s alone, a sailor’s always telling himself who he is, writes Kathy Acker in her short story “Lust” (1988), revisiting Jean Genet’s Querelle de Brest (1947), a novel about a young sailor and a trade-off between a murder and a transgressive sexual act. A sailor is nowhere home, always alone, which gives him the opportunity to act within the illusion of a mirage. Taking his cue from Acker’s and Genet’s “sailor,” Robin Vanbesien unfolds a metonymic figure for a nameless desire circulating through painted partial objects and prolific poetic images invoked by words. Characters, genders and bodies appear at sea before the possibilities of an undecidably erotic (homoerotic or just autoerotic) fantasy. The relations appear dissociated, stemming from the desire of an emptied-out self. All seems to be given with the gravity that yields a passive tense of verbs, static gestures, and staged compositions. Filmed landscape functions as the medium to circumscribe the figures. It reflects the notion of a framing gaze returned from its object in a specular dialogue. Although they seem to encompass each other’s plastic-pictorial unity, the author and its hero, the figure and the spectator, are conjoined in worlds separate from each other.

Written and directed by Robin Vanbesien
Actors: Cláudio da Silva, Diogo Bento, Ricardo Vaz Trindade
Director of Photography: Graça Castanheira
Sound: Isabel Dias Martins
Editing: Robin Vanbesien
Color Grading: Graça Castanheira
Sound design: Bart Aga
Production assistant: Rui Gonçalves
Translation: Pedro Sena-Lino, Rui Gonçalves
Production: Maumaus Residency Programme, Lisboa
2015 © Robin Vanbesien

2 film excerpts: here and here.