An experimental drama from Belgian filmmaker Patrick Carpentier,
COMBAT, centers on the very odd relationship between two men known
only by their initials. The pair -- at the start the audience is not really sure
about the exact nature of their bond -- head off on a road trip to a
wilderness area where they alternate between engaging in fisticuffs and
spending evenings lying around together making love.
Although this relatively short film (it runs only 57 minutes) has played
by itself at film festivals, including Berlin where it netted the Teddy Jury
Award. It has also received mostly positive reviews and reactions at the
various film festivals where it has screened -- and to be honest, I'm not
exactly sure why.
Yes the cinematography by Colin Lévêque is breathtaking but the
"story" per se is trite: basically Carpentier is making a connection between
sex and violence. There is very little dialogue in the movie, although there
is voice-over narration. COMBAT is a sort of film diary of a relationship.
Essentially, the upshot is that the men are not capable of fully expressing
how they feel unless they've pummelled one another. Instead of saying "I
love you," they throw punches and roll around inflicting pain. Since I'm not
one for sadomasochism, the purpose of this eludes me.
The DVD packages two additional short films by Carpentier -- and
that program has been touring the world. The other two featurettes are
GOD IS A DOG, a meditation on how childhood and what we might recall
can impact who we become as adults and LES 9 MARDIS (THE 9
TUESDAYS) which seems to be trying to dramatize the adage that time
heals all wounds. Together the three films form a sort of trilogy about love
and its various permutations. It did not work for me.
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.