|In the beginning there is darkness. And a lighter moving in the
darkness. A tent, one person, two persons and a third one, perhaps. The positing
of a beginning, in the darkness, confined, light and perception moving shakily.
From here starts a story, or so we should assume. Three make a family: mother,
father, daughter. But there is, as we soon learn, something wrong
And four don't make a family. Marco, the fourth person, is the unknown
in this equation. An unknown that, from his first very uncanny appearance,
disturbs, distorts, destroys this equation. We see him, the first time we
see him, at the car, walking, watching, aimlessly, it seems. Perhaps a thief.
Benni, Sandra, Jule are camping at a sea and when Benni and Jule are playing
in the water, Marco - whom the three of them, in their tent, have not yet
seen; but we have - turns up again, an aggressor, a friend, undefinable,
uncanny, groping for acceptance. He then, very soon after that, is beaten
by two brutes, we don't really know why. Sandra comes to rescue, without
Intentions, in a way, are what "On the Road" is all about. Or rather:
The not knowing of intentions. Things happen, they just happen. The four
of them, a family and not a family, leave the camping site, drive at night,
it's Marco's seemingly spontaneous idea. They cross the border to Poland,
in the morning they arrive at the sea, a beach, Marco finds an apartment
for all of them. He seems at home, he speaks Polish and we only have to learn
why. We get to know things about him, but we do not get to know him. He is
in a continuous paradox movement of approaching both Benni and Sandra, and
then, when they try to get closer, he shies away. He kisses Benni, he kisses
Sandra and we have no idea what he is after. What is more, Benni and Sandra
don't have an idea, either.
"On the Road" does not explain anything. It does not give intentions
and it does not even withhold them. They are unclear, to everybody. It's
as simple as that. The four of them are moving but they don't know where
and why. Benni and Sandra have sex in front of Marco's eyes. They don't speak,
nobody knows what exactly is going on here. Are they teasing Marco, are they
playing with him - or do they desire him? But desire as what: as an onlooker,
as a lover, as the ideal that Benni can't be for Sandra, that Sandra can't
be for Benni? We don't know and we will not learn.
The camera keeps watching, but the film obstinately refrains from
explaining. There is an uncanny objectivity in the camera's unmoved gaze,
an objectivity that very soons turns into stupifiying mysteriousness. We
see, but we don't understand. What we experience is a horror of not knowing.
Who is Marco? How can we make sense of him? And then the film breaks into
sheer happiness, into an incredible beauty, out of the nowhere it has been
circling all the time. For five minutes the film seems to complete lose its
direction, Sandra and Marco at the beach, Sandra and Marco on a motorbike,
slow motion, extremely grainy pictures, almost dissolving into dots and pixels.
The narration is elliptical all the time, but here, in these minutes that
will change the lives of everybody involved, ellipsis turns into an abyss
of wordless happiness.
It can't last, it won't last, the ending is near. It's nothing but
afterplay after this ride out into the darkness, in which the pictures seem
to lose their referent, seem to move towards disfiguration, a painterly
abstraction. During this afterplay, however, everybody will be hurt, everything
will be reshuffled. Nobody will really know how it happened and why. It happened,
it just happened.
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