We may assume that Palmer does not feature the sort of penis prosthesis that is now used for nude scenes in film productions. The setting of the film was simple and straightforward: the now 77-year-old Friedl vom Gröller asks a (homosexual) escort to do a nude film session, has the man’s fine rib underpants pulled down by her younger accomplice, filmmaker Josephine Ahnelt – who, like a puppeteer, remains hidden behind a wooden wall – and exposes his member. Here the undressing, as a drawn-out erotic act with fine manual dexterity, is combined with the pedantic experimental setting of an educational film intended to reveal factual material.
The fake brand of the underpants, “Palmer” (referring to the higher-priced Austrian textile manufacturer Palmers, which specializes in underwear, lingerie, and swimwear) immediately marks the social origin of the man, who is presented anonymously and fragmentarily, only by the intimate area between the navel and above the knee. The size of male genitalia has always been the subject of mythmaking – often shamefully concealed in films, rarely shown in a completely natural form. Why this is so is open to speculation. Possible reasons include issues of misunderstood morality or the repressive attitude towards body images and sexuality that almost all religions have in common. Counterexamples can be found in contemporary independent film productions, albeit only occasionally. The fact that patriarchy seems to be maintained longer by covering up the penis or its phallic over-stylization may be put forward as a provocative thesis. The running hourglass at the end once again refers to the dwindling virility and the approaching end of the filmmaker’s life, while the period of concealment and its associated socio-political implications also have an expiration date. (Dietmar Schwärzler)
Friedl vom Gröller