An impending cloud of doom looms over Thomasz Wasilewski’s second feature, Floating Skyscrapers – a film that explores one man’s struggle with his own sexuality and the dilemmas he faces as he is torn between his doting girlfriend and new male love interest.
Set against a grey, lifeless Polish backdrop, director/writer Wasilewski stated he first intended the project to focus on the relationship between two young women before realising that the story would be made stronger with two young men coming together in a country reluctant to tackle difficult contemporary issues.
Kuba (Mateusz Banasiuk) is a promising champion swimmer living with his adoring girlfriend Sylwia (Marta Nieradkiewicz) and domineering mother Ewa (Katarzyna Herman). Their home is brimming with awkward tension with Kuba split between the two women who compete for his affection. This is readily established when Ewa purposefully interrupts Kuba and Sylwia having sex, demanding a backrub from her son.
When Sylwia forces Kuba to attend an art gallery opening, he strikes up a conversation with the angelic Michal (Bartosz Gelner) while sharing a joint. Seemingly infatuated, Kuba quickly begins ditching Sylwia to be with Michal at a moment’s notice, leading to an intriguingly awkward dinner scene between the three.
Kuba and Michal’s budding relationship plays out like many other “coming-out” films with barely a word spoken between the two among long affectionate gazes. This is cute at first but quickly deprives the viewer of any reason as to why these two are actually together, other than physical attraction. As the story develops, the pair become less relatable, with Kuba in particular appearing openly vapid and void of emotion, as if unable to tell the difference between his sexual appetite and sexual orientation. So much so, that it is practically shocking when he proclaims his love for Michal.
Conversely, his relationship with Sylwia resembles the ideologies of the more traditional male-female relationship with playful banter interspersed between passionate love scenes. These sections are finely written, though perhaps so warm and compassionate that they make Kuba and Michal’s connection appear like a casual fling.
The film’s abrupt and astonishingly downbeat ending is fairly refreshing, however, by this time the characters are mere shells of the ones we were first introduced to. That said, Floating Skyscrapers is lavish with stunning cinematography including some remarkable underwater pool shots.Unfortunately, the graphic sexual nature of the film may (for some) take away from this wonderful feature.
Floating Skyscrapers is released nationwide on 22nd November 2013.
Watch the trailer for Floating Skyscrapers here: