Today is GUO4‘s last of its stay in Mubi. The site describes Peter Strickland’s three-minute short film as a “brilliant” and “literal deconstruction” of masculinity. And not just such an unspooling of it, but one which is presented in “playful stop-motion, gay erotica reverie.” Naturally, I clicked through.
Inside is a succession of still frames depicting two naked swimmers inside a locker room, an encounter which the short insists to concern the impudence of “manspreading”, which is to say a literal dong dangling. One of them obviously is ticked off by this, lighting afire an absolutely mesmeric exchange of wrangling and growling and ravaging. The whole thing is set to a piece composed by GUO, a barrage of sound that arrests as much as the images it’s coupled with. Speaking of, Strickland’s interesting use of frozen moments adds to the thrill and morality of it, vividly capturing the feral moments which make up man’s fatalistic inability to let go of his outward virility.
All this screeches to the short’s ending, which finds both males wailing—in pain? In pleasure? In irregrettable defeat? The way Strickland brings us to the end feels somewhat hurried and suspect. But the stake is deep if you let not the flashes of flaccid schlongs phase you. And in so thinking, it’s impressive the affect he’s able to conjure in just three minutes.