Wednesday, 12 October 2016

LFF 2016 REVIEW - TAEKWONDO (MARCO BERGER AND MARTIN FARINA)


A protracted tease that's all in the characters' imaginations, not our own, though Marco Berger and Martin Farina don't let us get away with our salacity - Taekwondo is pure smut, but it has a plot and it has a purpose, and our arousal is our responsibility. The scenario is that of many hundreds of gay porn productions, the objects, actions and situations are designed for maximum erotic potential, but Berger and Farina's greatest achievement is that they both form their film from these overtly sexual details and formulate further sexual potency from their film. Their compositions are unabashedly suggestive, even downright explicit; Taekwondo is literally the cockiest film of the year, but then it's arguably also the ballsiest, and the taintiest... The eroticism that spurts forth from the film is used to more intellectual ends alongside its more sensual objectives, as a subtle, sensitive critique on the damage that cultural standards of masculinity have upon men, both hetero- and homosexual (or bisexual). It's a silly scene every time one of Taekwondo's brashly macho hunks feels the urge not only to suppress their aggression no longer but to actively release it, and a sad scene every time German, our watchful gay protagonist, played beautifully by Gabriel Epstein, or one of his fellow vacationers exposes their incapacity to keep up with these standards. It's a tender, ironic film, seductive and intimate in its lush close-ups, never unduly exploitative of its innate conceptual sexuality, though generous in what exploitation in which it does engage. Eye candy and intelligence attractively furnish this perceptive examination of the specificity yet the universality of the gay experience, its pain and its pleasures alike.