His Hands is a short that defies classification but one thing I can say is that it’s really fucking kinky. Yeah, this one’s not for the kids. Unless your kids are interested in intergenerational homoerotic powerplay, in which case you, madam, are raising the next John Waters. Written/directed/produced by Arron Blake and Darius Shu and co-starring Philip Brisebois, His Hands opens on a montage of bronze figures, including a bearded man bound naked to a bookcase while a young man (Blake) trims and caresses a plastic tarp. We then cut to a dismal apartment where an older man (Brisebois) sits, agonizing over whether to make a phone call while he reads a book about hosting guests and his hands slide anxiously over his thighs. The two men meet for a cup of tea before throwing themselves into an intense and ambiguously consensual ritual, the implications of which I can only guess at.
Featuring no dialog outside of a cryptic physical language that both parties seem to comprehend on some level but which eludes any firm translation, His Hands exists to be pondered more than understood. The cinematography alone is enough to convey the psychic chess match at play and as one man enjoys his perceived advantage the other pulls the reins and exploits this false sense of dominance. The ebb and flow here makes for a mesmerizing game even if no one has been given the rules as the players lunge and retreat until both have put in everything they have and the outcome is left to circumstance. Even then, the terms of victory are left uncertain and we’re left to question if both men didn’t get what they came for.
His Hands doesn’t give us a great deal of context to make sense of its narrative but the conviction with which it is portrayed makes for an excellent backdrop to project a myriad of interpretations.