Professor of Art at the University of Georgia, James Herbert is an established painter, occasional director of pop promos (for local heroes REM and The B52s), and a film-maker with a particular interest in the human form. This second feature is difficult to judge in conventional movie terms since its interest is not really in narrative and characterisation, but in exploring the aesthetic possibilities of the male and female nude. Luckily, Herbert is also a brilliant cinematographer, so this series of tableaux, of two young American men carousing their way through Tuscany, mainly without clothes on, is consistently a pleasure to behold. These are non-actors, choreographed into various positions of display which achieve a sense of intimacy and blur the lines between performance and their own sexual arousal. While the interlinking dialogue sometimes seems impossibly precious, the sense of erotic reverie, reminiscent of Derek Jarman and The Angelic Conversation, proves cumulatively captivating. Not to be mistaken for soft porn, this is an arresting experiment in bringing fine art photography to life. And Brownie points for putting the soaring vocals of Lisa Gerrard on the soundtrack before Michael Mann got there with The Insider.
Cast and crew