Australian filmmaker Luc Mollinger is currently studying at the London Film School. His first entry to the festival circuit made the official selection at BFI Flare LGBT London Film Festival 2016 with Specimen. Written, directed, edited and self-produced, Mollinger’s microbudget “penis flytrap” submerges its viewers in the nighttime and asks if there’s any getting back once you’ve given in.

Though the word “submission” may feel appropriate in describing Specimen, its near-automatic partnership with dominance is perhaps misplaced. The idea of surrendering one’s partial agency in return for partial pleasure is carefully considered in Mollinger’s jungle. Perversion and its requisite dangers lie just out of sight, illuminated only briefly by the glow of their cigarettes.

Giving in is at the centre of Specimen’s thematic confines, though this has little to do with the object of the piece. As the ethereal space begins to envelop our protagonist in the peak of his ecstasy, his nameless partner seems to be merely complicit in his arrest. This is an internal submission, of relinquishing self-rule – and while this cannot be done alone, the jungle is not responsible.

With a skeleton crew and a paltry budget of just £200, Mollinger has achieved an impressively immersive and atmospheric experience detailing the excitement and anticipation of sexual power-play. Despite obvious constraints, Specimen’s image scarcely suffers, creating an authentic space in which the viewer appears just as lost as the subject.

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INFORMATION

CAST: Damien Killeen, Alexis Gregory, Dannie Pye, Sean Kollath Newport, Michael Graf

DIRECTOR: Luc Mollinger

WRITER: Luc Mollinger

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Ju Shardlow

EDITOR: Luc Mollinger

SYNOPSIS: A man follows the object of his desire, stepping into a surreal jungle where thrill and danger lie present. At the crest of his sexual fulfilment it becomes unclear whether he’ll step back out.