Henri (Jean-Hugues Anglade) is a young man from a working family of four in an unnamed French city, his sister is going to Paris and they all go to the train station to say goodbye. The train station is also a house of glances where men search for action, a cruising place where a disoriented Henri meets Jean (Vittorio Mezzogiorno); after their first close and quick encounter their fate is sealed with a kiss. Voyeur Bosmans (Roland Bertin) is a constant presence throughout the film.
Lonely Henri has an obsession with Jean, a vicious man, a petty thief, and a kind of pimp, always wearing dirty clothes; his jeans, T-shirt, and jacket become a fetish to Henri, and he also wears them afterward. As the clothes go from one man to the other the sharing is not just physical but metaphorical in the narrative. Henri rushes from the small house of his parents to the street. to the train station, always looking for Jean and in desperate need of him. Elusive Jean shares a little, providing some excitement, shelter, and water to the thirsty young man until the end.
Almost 40 years later it is interesting to watch the dynamics and how cruising situations have changed, mainly missing personal contact since meeting places became virtual chat rooms and phone Apps nowadays. Although some disturbing things never change, such as sexual exploitation, the lower depths, misfits and outlaws to name a few, all of them are among us.
The film also shows how watching (and intense smells) provides pleasure by itself, for everybody. There is a scene where Bosmans takes Henri to a parking place to listen, and see cars moving rhythmically while having newspapers in their windshields
A dated film made just at the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, a dark and intelligent tale of longing and desire with perfect chemistry between the lead actors and great cinematography. A contribution to gay cinema from the early filmography of director Patrice Chéreau (Queen Margot).
Wounded Man will be screening at Anthology Film NY from 1/5 ; for future screenings https://www.facebook.com/alteredinnocence
Review by José Mayorga , Guatemala, Central America lawyer and notary public, visual artist, and editor of El Azar Cultural, lives and works in Guatemala City. Cinema lover, curious about the possibilities life brings and eager to live the experience.