Equation to an Unknown
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- Package Dimensions : 19 x 13.4 x 1.4 cm; 90 Grams
- Media Format : NTSC, Subtitled
- Run time : 1 hour and 39 minutes
- Release date : 2 June 2020
- Studio : Altered Innocence
- ASIN : B085RQN2N1
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
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EQUATION TO AN UNKNOWN - Brand new HD restoration of a long-lost masterpiece of gay erotic cinema.
This long-lost masterpiece of gay erotic cinema centers on a handsome young stud who rides his motorcycle through myriad of sexual encounters, from a soccer game's locker room to a dreamy and unsettling orgy where the film reaches its melancholic peak. Newly scanned in 2K from the original camera negative and directed with absolute grace by the mysterious Dietrich de Velsa (aka Francis Savel / Frantz Salieri): this former painter was also the owner and artistic director of one of the first transvestites' cabaret of Paris, La Grande Eugène. Years later, he collaborated with Joseph Losey on Mr. Klein and Don Giovanni. EQUATION TO AN UNKNOWN is his only film and stands without a doubt as a masterpiece and the best French gay adult film ever made.
Remembering the Equation: A Video Essay about the film by Yann Gonzalez.
Short Film: Diary of a Fight by Guy Gilles documents the creation of a painting by the artist Francis Savel, the real name of EQUATION TO AN UNKNOWN's director Dietrich de Velsa. Narrated by Alain Delon.
French language with English, Spanish and German subtitles.
Original 1980 Trailer.
New Theatrical Trailer.
A Jean Daniel Cadinot vintage centerfold poster featuring the sexy lead actor, Gianfranco Longhi (Blu-ray Exclusive).
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Obviously, since "Equation To An Unknown" is, first and foremost, a gay porn film (albeit an arty one), there's a lot of hardcore sex. But it's also a melancholy film, filled with a sense of loneliness and longing that permeates the action. While the main character has his youth, looks and a motorcycle (not to mention his pants-bursting accoutrement), his constant search for sex suggests a need for more meaningful connections. When he murmurs "I wish I could love only you," to one of his partners, there's the appearance of a genuine (if fleeting) moment of self-realization before he dashes off to be the centerpiece at an orgy.
As the film's unnamed protagonist, Giancarlo Longhi is both beautiful and strangely sinister, projecting an aura of mystery-bordering-on-menace when he assumes the role of voyeur. There's an additional layer of world-weary apprehension that complicates this most itinerant character, but whether or not any of this constitutes an actual performance or is simply a reflection of his persona, Longhi is an ideal focal point for de Velsa's lens to capture the hypersexual essence of the era immediately foreshadowing the AIDS epidemic.
The rest of the cast includes names like Jean-Jacques Loupmon, Reinhard Montz, Jaime Sutherland, Djalil and Aurelien Duguet, among others, as various footballers, store attendants and blue-collar wanderers stunningly captured in the glorious glow of youth. Incidentally (coincidentally?), a few of these characters resemble Longhi to the extent that, at times, I wasn't sure who was doing what to whom (not that this interfered with my enjoyment of the film). Comparing these guys to those in the William Higgins oeuvre (and other purveyors of American gay porn) of the same time period, is almost beside the point. The young men in "Equation" may have similar (slender, mostly shaved) builds but they're a feral, more exotic bunch: they wouldn't be out of place in either a Tom of Finland drawing or a John Rechy novel.
And yet, through it all, there is the inkling that all is not well. Even in this land of free-spirited, hail-fellow-well-met sexuality, there is every indication that something wicked this way comes. Of course, now we know. It wasn't some ignorant, knife-wielding closet case waiting in the wings to pounce upon our unsuspecting cast: rather, it's the spectre of AIDS lurking just offstage and waiting for an entrance cue. After the movie, I found myself wondering which, if any, of the performers (or director) survived that terrible period of our history.
Notwithstanding the drab surroundings, many scenes in "Equation" have a burnished quality, sort of like a painterly work from the Dutch Golden Age. De Velsa was an artist, after all, and while the Parisian locales reek of poverty and despair, the backdrop vibrates with the clandestine ambience of desire and peril. Yann Gonzalez (director of 2015's excellent "Knife + Heart") has done a fine job restoring this nearly forgotten classic and has included some interesting bonus features on the disc, including an Alain Delon-narrated documentary on De Velsa's creative process (alas, in this case a painting, not the movie at hand). By and large, "Equation To An Unknown" is a dirge at the end of an orgy: a ravishing, carnally-infused fever dream, touching and arousing in equal measures, that left this man of a certain age with a mournful afterglow.
The 2010s has seen the development of some really great, ambitious queer cinema like Wild boys, Alien Crystal Palace, and Knife + Heart (whose director shepherded this lost film back to circulation). So if you're looking for a more unusual gay film beyond the things that are celebrated at pride festivals or featured in the LGBTQ section of Netflix, this is the film to check out. The caveat is that it is a pornographic film at it's core. But if you have loved these great queer cinema pics of the past like Pink Narcissus, Poison, Querelle, Un Chant d Amour, Cruising or Sebastian, then this would be a great edition to your collection. Certainly worth getting for something that will probably go out of print.