Borders of Love (2022) Karlovy Vary Film Festival

July 4th, 2022
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Tomasz Winski; Cast: Hana Vagnerova, Matyas Reznicek, Antonie Formanova, Eliska Krenkova, Martin Hofmann, Hynek Cermak; Czech Republic/Poland, 2022, 95 min.

This first feature film for Czech director/co-writer Tomasz Winski could have been called daring some fifty years ago – the story of a couple who decide to have an open relationship is told with all the graphic details – but today it just feels awkward with its endless scenes of pulsating bodies seeming closer to soft-porn than intelligent cinema. Instead of addressing taboos, Winski creates a voyeuristic nightmare which hardly feels credible, the property porn more impressive than that involving the characters.

Hana (Vagnerova, also one of the co-writers) and Petr (Reznicek) are stuck in a rut with their marriage. To spice up their sex life they try some cheeky games but when that fails to spark things between the sheets, they decide to embark on affairs trying to retain a kind of intimacy and faithfulness to each other by discussing the fine details of their extra-marital adventures.

Experimenting with a foursome involving two colleagues, Vanda and Vit from their architectural practice comes next. This is a big turn on for Hana but Petr needs Viagra to get going. And in the ‘sharing’ aftermath, Hana expresses her delight at how brilliant Vit was at ¬†cunnilingus. We get the drift: Hana is wild, and Petr would rather not repeat the experiment.

But things start to come unstuck for Hana and Petr when one of her lovers Marek introduces his girl friend and another couple into the equation: all five are gagging to go Рapart from Petr.  Instead he teams up with barmaid Antonie and the two plan an escape to a mythical island Рbut first he has to save Hana from rough sex in a proverbial den of inequity. Will he remember the promise he made to Antonie, and do we care?

DoP Krystof Melka tries to keep inside the boundaries of art house cinema, but even at ninety-five minutes, Borders is a trivial and halfcock attempt to explore the senisitve nature of desire and fidelity in longterm love.

KARLOVY VARY FILM FESTIVAL 2022 | PROXIMA COMPETITION

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