Enjoy the screen captures and let me rhapsodize a bit. From time to time, I find myself having to struggle with the peculiar fascination of Mark Lander for me. For others, too, but of course I can speak only for myself, especially since I have yet to conclude what exactly that fascination consists of. He was a slim, sinewy, and good looking wrestler, but still a far cry from the sumptuous beauty of somebody like Rio Garza or Alexi Adamov. His matches for the now-defunct Let's Wrestle are long: several, like the one depicted above, run for an hour--this one, against Danny Shaydaki, contains numerous headlocks and chokes, one of which lasts eight minutes, as Mark tightens, Danny taps, Mark loosens his clench, without entirely releasing, only to gradually tighten up on his victim yet again. There's no dialogue to speak of--no bigmouth jibes, no commentary, very little sound at all except the ambient sounds of nature and distant aircraft and of Mark and his opponent breathing and shifting position on the mat.
There's a quiet almost meditative quality to these power struggles. Some of Krushco's releases are comparable in tone, though physically Lander and company look more like wrestlers one expects to see at UCW-Wrestling. There's no hurry--no belt to win, no bell to sound, no frenzied rush to a climax of some sort, no promos to cut. The photography, despite fleeting moments that look like Renaissance religious paintings, is as dry and matter-of-fact as the stationary camerawork in old nature documentaries that patiently take in a python's slow, rather disturbing, yet hard-to-take-your-eyes-off devouring of a deer. I don't make the analogy lightly: I always imagine something snakelike about the way Mark coils around his opponent, enveloping the weaker man's body in his own.
I don't mean to suggest that Mark's presence connotes evil exactly, but I find a certain darkness in his methodology, emotionless and indifferent as the forces of nature we humans find daunting--the Venus flytrap, a spider cocooning its meal in web, a tsunami approaching dumbfounded tourists on the beach, videotaping their inescapable doom. I'm drawn into the surgical quiet of it, amazed at the way Mark holds his opponent paralyzed and then casually looks off to one side as if he's about to whistle a Burt Bacharach tune. I mentioned religious art; well, in these shots we can see Danny assuming the poses and attitudes of a painted martyr, ghostly pale against the darkness, suffering beatifically, at one point hands clasped like a Raphaelite saint. But then, who is Mark? Perhaps the Roman soldier commanded to execute the saint, professional, cool, without malice.