In an uncontaminated, desolate arctic landscape a male character and his female antagonist engage in an exhausting struggle which sees neither victor nor vanquished. The man’s face is covered by a sort of threatening wrestling mask with long black strands of fabric hanging off it, the ends of which are connected to the woman’s black gloves. The two of them are thus inseparably joined, as if caught in a lethal trap that foments their wrath against one another. In this phase the camera’s ample and unsteady movement alternates with unexpected slowdowns, condensed through blurred ground- level shots. Suddenly the effete woman falls to the ground. But she manages to get back up, amid moaning and sobs, and drag her rival to the ground, unleashing her remaining store of energy in a fit of rage. The camera hones in on minimal details as strains of electric guitars follow the on-screen tension in alternating riffs of melancholy and frenzy. For an instant, it looks as though the two characters reconcile their differences. In a flurry of close-ups, the man tenderly caresses the woman’s face, and she returns his gentle fondling. But soon enough new, unsettling sounds from the background echo across the “battlefield” and the two, as if governed by a ferocious, indestructible, atavic nature, recommence their no-holds-barred contest, now falling to the ground, prey to epileptic convulsions, now rising back to their feet to launch a new attack. The second chapter in Masbedo’s Iceland saga, Glima is a battle of manipulation, a metaphoric clash between two characters that have been abandoned in a setting of ice, water and volcanic sand. This is a journey through a mental landscape in which an alienating restriction keeps the participants confined to a condition of cyclical attraction-repulsion and, most importantly, denies them the chance to ever truly belong to one another. Music composed by the Italian rock group Marlene Kuntz and producer Gianni Maroccolo. An extraordinary Erna Omarsdottir, the acclaimed Icelandic dancer who has inspired artists such as Jan Fabre, Bjork and Placebo, plays the role of the woman.
July 11, 2013