Romance and Apocalypse in “Escaping the Fragile Planet”. Screening here.

For Tsimpinis, the fog in the film serves to point out the normality of his characters’ situation: they’re in love, and their time, like everyone else’s, is finite.

The two protagonists of “Escaping the Fragile Planet,” Thanasis Tsimpinis’s third short film, are doomed. They’re safe indoors, but, when one pours out food for the cat, he keeps going until the bag is finished and the bowl is overflowing. Outside, a lurid amethyst haze blankets the city, casting a purplish hue over everything and requiring anyone who leaves home to wear a mask. (The film was written in 2017 and shot two years later, when masks were still a rarity.) Birds fall from the sky. There are hints that the machines filtering the air inside are breaking down.

It’s only when the first of the young men (Michail Tabakakis) goes out into the deserted streets and hears music that the apocalyptic spell breaks. He follows the sound down into a basement record store, where he finds another young man (Nikos Lekakis) dancing, alone, as though he’s in a night club. The dancer has spent the past few days with friends and family—“I tried to spend as much time with them as possible. Do as much as we could, say what needed to be said”—but he has come here to feel alive. He suggests they spend the day together.

“This is a boy-meets-boy story,” said Tsimpinis, who wrote and directed the film. He chose the color of the poisoned air because he connected it to queer culture and to romance, and found it charming. The film was shot in Athens, and, watching it, I thought of climate change, and of the huge wildfires that now burn every summer in Greece. For Tsimpinis, the fog serves more to point out the normality of his characters’ situation: they’re in love, and their time, like everyone else’s, is finite. “I had this idea in my head, that the drama doesn’t always have to be related to their queerness,” Tsimpinis said. “I thought, Why not make it about the end of the world? Time is the enemy, and the pink fog is time. It’s what ends their world. What do we do with the time we have?”

Late in their day, the two wander the aisles of a toy store, wearing absurd sunglasses and eating tiny ice-cream cones, surrounded by plastic nonsense. There are pool floats, sun hats, a furry duck that quacks when you press its wing. “Why did we come here?” one asks. “Why wouldn’t we?” the other replies, and puts a garland of fake flowers around his lover’s neck. What’s left to them is ruins. Escape, when it comes, isn’t tangible—it’s ecstasy, in place of despair. ♦

First published in The New Yorker



GAY45 has reached a milestone with over 37,000 monthly readers, which is fantastic! Thank you for trusting us and reading our articles.
Our editorial office is currently comprised of 11 people in danger of losing their way of life. The rising utilities and office rent costs brought us to the edge, and we need your support.
If half of our readers donate €2-3 monthly, we can continue our activities a little more relaxed.

Donations are possible by clicking on PATREON or  PAYPAL

You can also help by subscribing to our SUBSTACK:


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?