It's fair to say this isn't a happy film despite the themes of exploration, liberation and freedom to be who you want. There's a powerful undercurrent of homophobia - both externally from the people in the local community and Aron's own internalised homophobia. There's an interplay between sexuality and religion and an exploration of the stigma that might be faced by a young man coming out in a small, countryside village in Eastern Europe. Both Aron and Szabi are subject to violent beatings and encounter difficulties from their parents and family. This is well-trodden ground for contemporary queer cinema set in Eastern Europe, but the focus on the beauty of the lonely landscape contrasting with the way Csaczi embraces sex in a manner which is unflinching without being gratuitous, sets this film apart from others.
In a moment of loneliness, Szabi contacts his old friend and teammate Bernard who makes the journey from Germany to Hungary to find Szabi. The two reconnect while Aron tries to deal with the stigma he's facing from friends and the local community, together with the possibility he might lose Szabi to Bernard.
The decision Szabi ultimately has to take and the way the film ends left me glued to my screen and horrified in equal measure. Try as I might I have looked for articles recounting the true story this film is based on with little success, so surprised was I by the direction the film takes at its conclusion.
Suffice to say, I will be thinking about Land of Storms for some days to come. A bold and distressing examination of homophobia, interspersed with tenderness, sensuality, sexual awakening and long moments of quiet contemplation.