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Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud,
A HOLE IN MY HEART... I was surprised, disappointed and most of all: shocked! Though the contents of this film (both images and themes) sure are truly disturbing, it weren't really those that shocked me the most. The end-result did, and even more: What has become of Lukas Moodysson! It seemed like Moodysson, after LILJA 4-EVER, skipped a few phases in his evolution as a film-maker, and then suddenly came up with this experiment (which is what it is actually: an experiment, NOT a movie). During the first 15 minutes I had the feeling this just might end up being a 9/10 movie. By the time it was finished I felt like rating this movie 4/10 would still be too much.
So, what is it about? Well, you can forget about a plot, because there is none. Just four characters and the stuff they do in an apartment. Rickard lives in his apartment together with his timid son Eric. The latter appears to suffer from some sort of autistic disorder or something (whatever it is, he's got mental issues). He also has a deformed hand and some very weird hobbies: he has worms for pets, he seems to collect dirt and junk in his room (don't ask me how it got there, since he is never seen leaving the apartment) and likes to listen to electronic noises and distortions through his headphones. Other than that, he does nothing. Rickard himself is into making home-made porn videos. Other than that, he too does nothing else. Geko is his friend and fellow porn actor who spends most of his time at Rickards place. Enter Tess, a quite attractive young blond girl who is into hard sex, make-up, taking a lot of showers and snorting coke (amongst other things in general). Now prepare yourself for a disturbing descent into the depraved minds of these four characters. Admittedly, this might seem fascinating or intriguing, but however, due to the lack of any form of coherency whatsoever, also prepare for boredom to kick in about halfway through the movie and best expect it to never go away.
Despite the nudity and pornographic subject matter in this film, no clearly visible shots of penetration are shown (though a rather explicit female masturbation scene does grace the screen for a minute there). However, a lot of other offensive images are being shown (along with plenty acts of the disturbed). Needless to go into them now (and besides that: I don't want to spoil anything for anyone), but I'll just name one random fact: You'll never look at a raw steak the same way again after having seen this film.
But now for the worst things about this whole experiment. There wasn't a real script to begin with (one page of the script, according to Moodysson, had only written the word "excorcism" on it). Moodysson clearly had no clue what the hell he was doing while shooting this 'movie'. Neither had his long-time director's assistant, the crew nor the actors. Moodysson only gave vague directions like "Don't act, be yourself" or "It's a documentary, not a movie". He sure might have had a lot of ideas, but it was clear to me that in no way Moodysson was able to communicate them to his actors. At one point Moodysson even shut down and left the set, leaving the actors to continue spewing out their confused thoughts on this project. (Source: Published interview, "Discussion on set"-featurette). True thing might be that a lot of metaphors and statements are to be found in this movie, but as a viewer you just have no clue what to look for. So if anyone says to you: "This movie is about this or that" or "This is what Moodysson is trying to say", then be careful and take it with a big grain of salt. Because you will never be sure until you've asked the director himself (and I even doubt he can give you a straight answer himself).
But I'd like to add just a few more positive notes though. On a technical level, this movie is pretty interesting. Especially the editing is remarkable and progressive. The same can be said about the many sound effects and the way they blend together with the on screen images (aswell as the complete absence of any sound in some scenes). It also strangely leads to the conclusion that both editor and director might have been on drugs, which actually could be a good thing in experimental film-making. And that just was another key-word here: "Experimental" (film-making), instead of the word "Amateur" some people like to apply on this film. No matter what's being said, Moodysson is an experienced and gifted film-maker, so why he decided to throw all his knowledge overboard is beyond me. Indeed, A HOLE IN MY HEART might have worked very effectively as an experimental short-film, but as a full length feature it fails after about 45 minutes.
But love it or hate it: This still remains an unforgettable piece of film. I have a difficult time recommending this to anybody, as I have a lot of trouble with liking much about it myself. But people who have seen Makavejev's SWEET MOVIE, Lars von Trier's THE IDIOTS, Harmony Korine's GUMMO or maybe (but to a lesser extend) Dylan Bank's NIGHTMARE might be interested in seeking out this Moodysson effort. But keep in mind that all the aforementioned movies had at least some sort of story, as where A HOLE IN MY HEART doesn't even try to tell one.
To end this all, I feel I just might want to suggest something to Lukas Moodysson himself: Maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to go and visit a psychiatrist and get some good medication. Then, please come back and make another movie, this time telling another decent story. Otherwise I'd suggest going back to your first love and start writing poetry again. Good luck either way.
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