By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

Barely reaching the 4-minute mark, Fou de Bassan (2021) is a magnificent exercise of synthesis by queer cinema master Yann Gonzalez. It’s notable its presence as a project that started being a videoclip for the music by electro-dub duo Jita Sensation which turned into a short film: all the codes of the music video are present, more playfully than every, and recreating a lost arcade of lovers floating in a limbo of neon lights and the ever present, immanent atmosphere of eros. It is relevant to say that Gonzalez has reached a level of filmmaking where the mark of a true auteur is ever present in all he’s made so far: this poetic realm that doesn’t renounce the dialectic presence of the quasi-pornographic and the platonic as a coexistence which allows the physical presence of sex to integrate with the romantic, not in a usual use of the term, but in the implication of absolute subjective freedom that arose from the XIX century movement. Hence, the sexual drive is complemented by the amour fou, in clandestine encounters in the dark of an unknown alleyway, where women meet under spotlights in the middle of a foggy, underground atmosphere.

It’s no surprise here that the sublime meets with codes of porn-flicks or 80’s movies, because in Gonzalez’ universe those codes are not contingent, and if they are, it is from their contingency and tension that the atmospheres of such films as Les Recontres D’Apres Minuit (You And the Night, 2013) or Je Vous Hais Petites Filles (I Hate You Little Girls, 2008) exist. It’s also not surprising that Gonzalez has been behind the restoration of the magnificent Équation à un inconnu (1980), the cult gay porn film by painter Francis Savel (credited as Dietrich de Vielsa), which is a film that he has also curated and admired for so long: Savel’s handling of the possibilities of the erotic and the reverie are long anchored in the French filmmaker’s mind, and come from the same source of ideas that allow the oneiric, the pornographic and the erotic to meet in the streets, among dim lights, the flickering of neon, or the sound of a saxophone.

Fou de Bassan could well be seen as a 4-minute mischief by one of France’s most interesting filmmakers working today, but also as an outstanding work of synthesis by an author that has been working on the fringe of the codes of porn, queer film, and fantasy, and has came out of it with one of the most suggestive proposals in cinema, which is able to interpellate us to this day.

Pardi di domani: Concorso Corti d’autore
Director: Yann Gonzalez
Cast: Gio Ventura, Inès Grivart de Kerstrat, Julie Brémond, Léa Gouzy, Margot Méphon
Producer: Thomas Jacquey
Production Designer: Margaux Remaury
Cinematography: Jordane Chouzenoux
Editing: Rafael Torres Calderón
Music: Aymard Caillol, Antonin Roux
Art Director: Alain Garcia
Costumes: Pauline Jacquard
Screenplay: Yann Gonzalez
Production: Pan-Européenne