Goliath, the challenge of becoming a father
by Giorgia Del Don
- LOCARNO 2017: Dominik Locher presents the world premiere of his second feature-length film as part of the International Competition at Locarno, telling the story of a crumbling identity
Dominik Locher presents the world premiere of Goliath [+see also:
interview: Dominik Locher
film profile] at the 70th Locarno Festival (International Competition), his second feature-length film tells the story of a crumbling identity, similarly to its predecessor Tempo Girl [+see also:
film profile]. A fine observer – perhaps conciously - of a youth that's lost its certainty, the Swiss director gives us a full-frontal portrait of a growing father.
David (Sven Schelker) and Jessy (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) are two young people in love, they have the kind of delicate faces that are reminiscent of Zeffirelli's Juliet and Romeo, living in their two-roomed flat in the suburbs and enjoying the small yet important adventures that life affords them. No longer teenagers, but not quite adults, David and Jessy play at being grownups, until life suddenly confronts them with a very tall order: pregnancy. David panics and, instead of verbalising his anguish, begins to produce an imaginary and stereotypical world of supermen - or rather superfathers - standard apartments in middle-class apartment blocks and multi-functional husbands. A picture-perfect life. The problem is that he is not a superman. David is "just" a boy with fears and frailties, imprisoned in an increasingly suffocating present and a monstrous future, arousing an insecurity in him that was lying dormant. It’s on a train on the way home from a party that Jessy falls victim to a sudden moment of aggression that overwhelms David. Unable to protect her, David seems to lose any last ounce of masculinity to which he clings as if it were his only salvation. Desperate, and completely disoriented, David begins to descend into the underworld. Unable to find the strength to face his future responsibilities, our modern Romeo tries to change the only thing he can still control: his appearance. Drugged up on anabolic steroids, David slowly transforms into the stereotype of scary masculinity: violent, deaf and grotesque.
By mutating the bodies of the protagonists (her stomach and his muscles), Goliath plays on the stereotypes that suffocate us: issues relating to the dichotomy of being a man versus a woman - issues concerning our place in society (the securities to which they cling) but also those relating to sexuality (socially pleasantries). Unable to look beyond the postcard image that he's built, David retreats ever further into his world (which ends up being almost exclusively at the gym where he trains) to fight against a Goliath nestled in the deepest of lies: his body. And what if the key to true masculinity is to accept one's own fragility? This is what we would love to whisper to David, who is sadly too absorbed in his own plastic dream to listen to us.
(Translated from Italian)
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