Told in three parts, Patrick Carpenter’s “The Irregularity of the tearing” is a three part cine-diary on intimacy, sensuality and desire. Part one, “God is a Dog” (2004) is shot on Super 8 and confronts the film makers...展开remembrances of childhood memories and how they interact with his adult love encounters. Section two, “Les 9 mardis” (The 9 Tuesdays) (2005) deals with the absurdity of the passage of time. Time that reopens and closes past wounds, time the provides the courage to continue.
The final installment is the award winning “Combat” (2006). The tale of two young men both deeply in love who can only express their feelings through acts of physical violence committed upon each other. Full moons and lush forests frame this deeply felt and moving love story between two beautiful, youthful men. In its entirety, “Combat” leaves the viewer with a sense of wonder and awe while contemplating the true meaning of love.
One of the most intriguing aspects of gay male sexuality--and the one explored here--is the absence and/or replacement of the iconic dominant-submissive relationship our culture has gotten so used to. Combat offers a couple of interesting observations on the subject: masochism is instilled early homosexual development (a sense of inferiority and fear is stamped on the lead character from age 14 when he is beaten up by a couple kids & told by his mother that he should have fought back), and that pain elevated to a form of sexual arousal simultaneously serves as a source of indulgence and penitence (while they have replaced genital arousal with bodily damage & seem to enjoy it, the younger character asserts at the end: "I feel good with you. I mean, not guilty." It's simultaneously a statement about love conquering a deep-seeded homosexual guilt complex and a confession that this violence, which his lover refers to as "punishment," is a soul-cleansing act.)
The movie is occasionally beautiful (their skin in the morning light makes them look like corpses, which is thematically compelling), occasionally gharish (the red storm clouds have got to go), and occasionally clichéd (the director's use of hand-held cameras to increase the "visceral" quality of its more violent scenes is something out of a freshman film class).
Nevertheless, these observations aside, I have a major complaint: since the movie has no interest in character and examines its particular breed of sexuality through people who are no more than "types," it is impossible to become emotionally involved. That is not usually something I care about, but the director clearly WANTS us to be emotionally involved: the agonizingly serious voice-over is WAY over the top.
-- Noelle Reilly