THE SWIMMER (HASAHYAN)
Adam Kalderon | Israel | 2021 | 84 min | HEBREW S.-T.EN.
Erez is one of an elite group of chiseled, competitive “dreamers” powering through a gruelling three-month training camp under the hot Israeli sun. Each swimmer hoping to be the one to nab a ticket to the Olympics. All practicing the art of “psychological warfare.”
For Erez (Omer Perelman Striks), swimming runs in the family and his father is old friends with his homophobic coach (Igal Reznik). This legacy – and Erez’s latent homosexuality – adds undue pressure. He’s teased about his intense relationship with Nevo (Asaf Jonas) and veers between infatuation and sabotage, flesh and glory beckoning everywhere he looks. Immersed in the tinted red of his goggles, he channels Madonna, but the sport is asking him to change. Many lanes stretch before him – giving in to what the sport demands, pursuing what he desires, going solo – and there is plenty of shower horseplay, ruins under starlight, and sanity-tearing mind games between him and the other side, the finish line slipping away with every brutal, beautifully shot lap. What Darren Aronofsky did for ballet and wrestling in Black Swan and The Wrestler, here writer-director Adam Kalderon does for swimming.