Austrian director Michael Satzinger has attempted a genre-bending gay-themed mystery-romance with his “Das Flüstern des Mondes” [Eng. Title: Whispering Moon]. And he pretty much pulls it off!
The complex storyline involves a heady romance between two young men – Jannis (Julian Stampfer) and Patrick (Dominic Hartel, credited as Dominic Hartl), trying to solve the bizarre serial murder of local politicians. Patrick – mute after a childhood trauma, tries to upstage his mother (Liane Wagner) – an investigative journalist, as revenge for causing the suicide of his father, or so he believes. The murder weapon is apparently an exotic Amazonian toad, kept by the owner of a travelling circus. Patrick is equipped with a secret camera as he joins the circus as a help, hoping to record any incriminating evidence. This will lead to an unexpected distraction for Jannis, as he’ll have to contend with a potential love-rival in the form of Mo (Julia Shwarz). Events take an expected turn, and lovelorn Jannis will have to face the consequences. But then again, all is not what it seems in this charming little charade…
The film is quite playful in that the plot never follows a straight trajectory – extraordinary twists are inserted into proceedings to heartily parody an Italian Giallo. It’s a film of tricks, mirrors, and cheeky mouse-clicks that unexpectedly make an appearance to de-construct the narrative. The circus environment also gives Satzinger a perfect excuse to introduce eccentric characters into the film, which he uses to good effect. Granted – this film doesn’t represent the cutting-edge of special effects (and rightly so, as that would otherwise be inappropriate), and it doesn’t contain the most convincing of performances either (that’ll again not be appropriate for the film) – these imperfections actually add to its unique advantage. It’s a quirky film, made with minimal budget, and a degree of wit. The Amazon PAL link below should, by all likelihood, be superior to my unfortunate NTSC letter-boxed edition. Either way, those who like Roland Reber’s films will certainly enjoy this quaint little oddity – Recommended Viewing..!
The Nudity: Dominik Hartel, Julian Stampfer, and Julia Schwarz
Two lengthy scenes in the film feature uninhibited nudity; the first is a love scene when Patrick finally relents to Jannis’ persuasion. The second is when Mo, while sharing a shower cubicle with Patrick, learns that he isn’t strictly gay after all. She also discovers that someone had locked them from the outside and stolen their clothes. Mo begins to panic because it will be daylight soon, and she has a peculiar ailment that makes her allergic to sunlight.