Jesper Just b. 1974
Romantic Delusions (2008)

Duration: 10'16

Just puts a different spin on gender in his latest film, Romantic Delusions, a three-channel projection featuring Udo Kier [..] as a hermaphrodite who wanders through Bucharest. The character's duality, Just explains, represents the merging (and the clash) of East and West in Romania, opposites also mirrored in the film's music: The hermaphrodite, with a high-pitched voice dubbed by a countertenor, warbles over a death-metal track.

Filmed in 8mm, the work marks a return to Just's earlier documentary style. Shooting Romantic Delusions, he says, simply involved "going out with a vague idea and working in reality, and seeing what happens if you have a man with tits in Bucharest." In a tank top, gazing at his surroundings with his trademark ice-blue eyes, Kier strolls past drab apartment buildings, visits the enormous People's Palace, and finally ends up in a derelict casino on the Black Sea, where he participates in an eroticized tableau vivant. The journey's moods track the city's sudden architectural shifts, a jumble that Just calls "weird, schizophrenic, random, postmodern." The description works pretty well for the film, too—like Just's other work, it's absorbingly enigmatic.