Land of Storms
Land of Storms
Aftershocks from German footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger’s coming out are just dying down. What better time to revisit the uneven playing field of beer-swilling homophobia than now, with Land of Storms’ well-meaning story of Szabi (András Sütö), a Hungarian youth who leaves behind a play-hard, wank-hard soccer training camp for young hopefuls in Germany, returning to Hungary and an abandoned, dilapidated farmhouse where he employs local rough boy Aron (Adám Varga) to help him with renovation work. After a nocturnal visit to a local lake, lingering glances turn to intimacy – and inevitable confrontations with bigoted family and friends, conservative Catholicism and, in Aron’s case, pleasure and anger at his newly discovered proclivities.
Director Adám Császi ticks the boxes of private courage and public commitment with the help of an attractive, and well-acted, central character. Initially overwhelmed by the soulless vacuum of open, rural Hungary, Szabi begins to fill these ideologically confused spaces with choices reflected, a trifle obviously, in visual ruses (empty houses, empty landscapes as vacuums demanding re-definition) and over-literal dialogue (“You’ve never done this before” says Aron to Szabi, shingling a roof).
Will this slippage into mild cliché detract from the film’s Teddy attractiveness in terms of sheer timeliness? Watch this space to find out, and whilst you’re waiting check out the utterly charming Shemtkhveviti Paemnebi (Blind Dates). Director Levan Koguashvili nods lightly in the direction of Otar Iosseliani’s tragi-comic genius as he follows a group of no longer youthful urbanites lightly shouldering melancholia in a series of slightly surreal set pieces. Soccer plays its own game here in the role of significant flirt forum, providing yet another temporary distraction from responsibility and commitment. Fish prices, parental admonition for the 40-somethings, Mafioso matchmakers … post Rose Revolution Georgian society appears to be undergoing an early mid-life crisis. Koguashvili promises to be a perceptive and entertaining record-keeper.
Viharsarok (Land of Storms) screens Feb 8, 20:00 (International), Feb 9, 17:45 (CineStar 3), Feb 13, 14:30 (Cubix 9).
Shemtkhveviti Paemnebi (Blind Dates) screens Feb 8, 20:00 (Colosseum 1), Feb 9, 22:00 (CineStar 8) and Feb 13, 22:15 (Cubix 9).