“Land of Storms” (“Viharsarok”)
A Stormy Love Story
Szaboics who uses the nickname Szabi (Andras Suto) and Bernard (Sebastien Urzendowsky) are best friends and play on the same German football team. Szabi is the best player on the team and he is all wrapped up in the German ideal of machismo. However, he is just not sure about his direction in life and is upset about a fight he has just had with Bernard. He returns to his native Hungary and in doing sabotages his favored position and the coach’s esteem. He went to see the dilapidated house he inherited in the Hungarian countryside.
One night, he catches Aron (Adam Varga) who was trying to steal from his motorbike but rather than turn him in, Szabi has him help fix up the house. When they are working on the house and all alone, a bond grows between them. They have a bit of sex—Szabi gives Aron a hand job but when Aron wakes up the next day, he tells his mother what happened and he adds that he allowed it to happen.
The mother is disgusted and she tells others about it and Szabi is badly beaten up by some locals. This does not make him leave and he begins raising bees. Bernard appears to being Szabi back to Germany and to reclaim his love for him and this makes Aron feel that he could lose the man he cares for even though he has indirectly made his life very hard.
Director Adam Csaszi is very open in the way he shows male flesh on the screen and we are well aware of the homoeroticism of the film. The masculinity that we see is potent and very male. Likewise the film depicts homophobia whether in throwaway lines during sports practice or with brutal beatings in rural Hungary. Withstanding these, Szabi becomes a hero, not outright in the plot but in the subtext, and his inward-looking intensity magnifies that sense of a man who has recently come to believe he can control his own destiny, rather than be told by others how to live his life.
This is a potently atmospheric drama of three young gay men wrestling with their sexuality in an unaccommodating environment. The story unfolds in lonely rural flatlands that seem to belong to a Europe of times past, the film is emotionally and erotically charged yet with no melodrama, even when it moves toward the somewhat inevitable end of one of its characters. Compelling performances from the good-looking lead actors propels it.
The main focus is on the sexual awakening of Szabolcs. We see his good relationship with his teammates – they get tattoos together, watch straight porn, and attempt to contain their pre-match nerves before a crucial faceoff. When Szabolcs’ team leadership is criticized, a fight ensues in the showers with his closest friend, Bernard and Szabi leaves disillusioned for Hungary. But instead of returning home to face the disappointment of his father who is his main reason for pursuing a soccer career, Szabolcs takes up residence in the dilapidated prairie farmhouse his grandfather left him.
A friendship develops with Aron, with mutual attraction coming during a night on the schnapps. Though while Szabolcs acts on the impulse, Aron initially hides behind his drunkenness to stay outside the experience. He eventually loosens up as barriers are broken down, but the pressure of his religious beliefs, his needy mother, a sometime girlfriend and the homophobic local youths add fuel to his conflict.
Both Szabolcs and Aron endure separate experiences of violence as word gets out about them. However, a fresh problem arrives when Bernard turns up, declaring the affections he kept concealed in Germany. We then have a romantic triangle that becomes almost idyllic for a time, infused with tenderness, but jealousy and external forces quickly ruin it. There’s something very and unexpectedly affecting about Szabolcs’ desire for a life of simplicity in which to gain fuller knowledge of himself (he even starts beekeeping), and he shows strength of character in his decision to stay there after exposing Aron to hostility, rather than escaping to someplace more accepting. Adam Csaszi’s confidently directed gay love story has exceptional performances and evocative visuals and is more than just a movie—it is an experience.