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Eros Erosion

Anna Thew
1990
45 mins colour 16mm

Eros Erosion

Through a rush of abstract and allegorical connections the film touches on transience and desire, and the silence and concealment surrounding sexuality, love, death, AIDS, and the fear of bereavement.

for Atilio Lopez

"Eros Erosion began as two words jotted over a drawing of a river. It grew from there. Words, jottings over drawings, another friend had AIDS, conversations, struggle, the futile pursuit of miracle treatments… the only thing I could do was film people fighting and arguing, film landscape, film the sea, and try and make some sense of that helplessness you feel." A.T.

Eros Erosion is an image poem.

Interrupted recordings of voices chase and intertwine; desire, proximity, diagnosis, holding onto someone, consolation, lilac blossoms, one night stands, a dead body in a morgue, anxiety, fear of death. A nurse in infinite blue treads the linoleum floor. A thousand year old poem by Wei Wen Ti, on the death of his Father, defies time. Ultramarine waves. Hospitals, stations and waiting rooms, the spaces we inhabit or simply imagine. Returning home, relationships; the fears and reactions to friends testing positive; harbouring the virus, secretiveness. Stolen thoughts, snatches of conversation, spoken text interlock with an undertow of resonant sound.

Like in a fitful sleep, the fugitive mind carries us through a flood of images, from familiar urban landscape, moorland, industrial wasteland and deserted bank side warehouses to a distant, mythical space, the bad end of Naples, and the heat and shuttered rooms of Rome. A translation from the introduction to Boccaccio's Decameron about the plague of 1348, describes people's reactions to the terror of then. A consultant's letter regrets that there is no known cure for AIDS. An interval of portraits accompanied by, "You're my favourite work of art", transitions to the sea shimmering the rose of deep copper. Pigeons' flight. The Aegean shore. Naples port. Necklaces of whirlpools on the Tiber. A young man at Stazione Termini. Fragmented scenes glimpsed from Boccaccio's tale of Lisabetta, who dies of grief after her brothers kill her lover, mingle with ropes and red painted ships, dogs barking, graffiti, peeling walls, rivers, washing hanging in dark alleys, and littered streets.
"VINCE LA LOTTA" (win the struggle)

The concentration on sound is as important as image, being the last point of consciousness… that is, the last of the senses.

For me, the film remains unfinished. It ends in hiatus with a shot of the Alps from the plane to Rome. Atilio died before it was printed, followed by Kosmo, Alf, Stuart and Derek.

"Breaking the narrative stranglehold, Anna Thew's Eros Erosion, (stills) above and opposite", Nik Houghton BFI CAN, City Limits, July, 1990.

"The film has an impressive physical grace and clear personal investment. Using a constantly changing stream of visual images and narrative ideas it draws together its repeated motifs to reveal a troubled perspective of present day living and loving and dying under the shadow of HIV. Thew has taken steps to remedy the cinema's shameful neglect of the 'safe sex' decade and helps counteract the industry's collusion in collective homophobia",
Farrar Anwah, BFI New Directors at the Metro, City Limits, July, 1990

Voices - Ali Zaidi, Carlyle Reedy, David Medalla, Julian Woropay, Christian Anstice, Gina Czarnecki, Anna Malni, and Anna Thew.
Lonely young man, Junior Corsini, with Simon Periton, Toni Dominici, Philippe Barbut, Jean Pascal Auberge, Franco Bosisio...

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