The feature length directorial debut of Drew Lint is one of the more baffling LGBT films currently making its rounds on the festival circuit, premiering at Slamdance earlier this year and soon to be showcased at FilmOut San Diego. M/M is sure to polarise audiences due to its increasingly mind-bending nature – but it’s such a singular, unique experience, it’s worth stepping out of your comfort zone to experience the madness for yourself.
Set in Berlin, we follow Canadian immigrant Matthew (Antoine Lahaie), who is isolated after moving to a new city – estranged from friends, family and a deeper sense of meaning. Then, he meets Matthias (Nicolas Maxim Endlicher), a handsome guy who merely flirted with him on a dating app, which proves to be enough for Matthew to become obsessed. He starts stalking Matthias, and changes everything about his life (from wardrobe to appearance) in order to physically resemble him as much as possible.
Then, Matthias gets into a motorcycle accident, leaving Matthew to do the unthinkable – move in to Matthias’ apartment without his knowledge, and start living out the life of his obsession as his own. As Matthew goes deeper in emulating this life, reality and fantasy continue to blur, creating a film that feels like science fiction, despite the lack of any concrete sci-fi elements in the narrative. As the story progresses, you’ll either be left scratching your head, or completely won over by the ceaseless surreality of it all.
For a debut feature, Lint certainly has made a plethora of bold choices, even outside the storytelling. For starters, the majority of the film unfolds free of dialogue, depriving the audience of any exposition that would make the events we’re seeing offer more concrete logic. This, of course, is the ideal way for this story to be told – it means the film possesses a dreamlike (or more accurately, nightmare-like) quality, focusing on creating an oppressive mood to absorb you in, fully aware of how odd the situation is. It’s the kind of story that would have been made as a straightforward, ridiculous erotic thriller by any other director, but feels genuinely alien here.
When describing a film as having a “dreamlike” atmosphere, people naturally assume it’s inspired by David Lynch, but that doesn’t seem like the case here. Lint definitely feels more inspired by arthouse sci-fi efforts like Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, taking the unforgettable imagery from that film and applying it to a story that would be otherwise grounded in reality. At the halfway point, we start getting interludes showing a computer creating an artificial being designed to resemble Matthias, in lieu of showing Matthew’s physical transformations – it’s not hard to be reminded of the opening “creation” sequence from Glazer’s film during these moments.
M/M isn’t a film I’d recommend for everybody – but if you fancy pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, then this unconventional film is definitely for you. One thing is for sure, no matter whether you love it or hate it, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.