Sunday, April 11, 2021

Pierre Salvadori | Un moment... (A Moment)

what isn’t said, what isn’t done

by Douglas Messerli

Didier Seynave (scenario) and Pierre Salvadori (adaptation and director) Un moment... (A Moment) / 1996

A man (Stéphane Höhn) again runs into a young lovely looking boy on his staircase, and this time he cannot resist the boy’s evident flirtation as he moves up to where Ludovic is now standing on the landing—“He’s gorgeous. I kept running into him. It was high time we spoke”—embracing him, the two engaging in deep kisses. The boy unlocks the door to his apartment, inviting in the man who we never see throughout this 7 minute film, into the room. The kid enters his bedroom, strips off his shirt and invites the man in to join him on his bed.

     In the meantime, the man has searched his carrying bag, unable to find any rubbers, realizing in a voiceover of his thoughts that he cannot have sex. The boy, he observes from running shorts and other articles tossed to the floor, is obviously “into sports.” 

     In the meantime, the man has searched his carrying bag, unable to find any rubbers, realizing in a voiceover of his thoughts that he cannot have sex. The boy, he observes from running shorts and other articles tossed to the floor, is obviously “into sports.”

     When the boy appears, half naked in the doorway, he perceives that the Ludovic (Adrien de Van Adrien) “is too young to have it.” At the same moment we realize that this entire film is about what isn’t said and what doesn’t happen, not what is inevitable, as the man, completely caught up in the lust of the moment, deludes himself by repeating almost as a mantra “I’ve gotta to stop. I better stop!” before he continues with a meaningless postponement—just a bit more, a bit more and then we’ll go to sleep.


     It is in those few “more moments” that the two grasp each other to intensely kiss, continuing, when the boy rolls over, with the man fucking him. There are a few silent seconds after the intense huffing and panting of the act, as we see the beautiful Ludovic laying on his side to face his momentary lover.

     It is clear that he sees something in the eyes of the observer: “Why are you staring at me? What is it?”

     “You fuck often without a rubber?”

     “Sometimes yeah...it depends. ...How about you?”

     “Not very often.”

     “But this time, right?”

     “Sure.”

     “All right. But...what?”

     There is no answer, and the boy turns away from the man who may be the cause of his death.

     Of the ten short films centering around issues of AIDS commissioned by French television, this film by Pierre Salvadori, aired as episode number 8 on December 9, 1996, perhaps best captures the angst of the continued AIDS crisis, which still exists today even if we pretend it no longer matters since we have a series of potent drugs to extend the life of those infected. Approximately 690,000 people died throughout the world of HIV-related infections in 2019.

Los Angeles, April 11, 2021

Reprinted from My Queer Cinema blog and World Cinema Review (April 2021).

     

    

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