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|Index||11 reviews in total|
This memorable, visually unique, and sometimes very emotional story of
a group of young friends whose lives implode after their schooling ends
ranked among the top 3 films of the 15 or so I saw at the Toronto Film
Festival. Unfortunately, the combination of $20 ticket prices and a 1
(out of 5) rating given this film by the major Toronto free weekly
paper resulted in relatively few audience members taking a chance on
the work of a first-time director. Moreover, I will say that this is
not a film for everyone, and that there were a fair number of walk-outs
at the screening I saw.
All that said, I think those who appreciate films that approach storytelling from a truly cinematic perspective -- that is, where the shots, the editing, the sound design, and the music tell the story as much as the action and dialogue do -- will find a lot to love here. As others have noted, this film did share some aesthetic elements with the last few (excellent) features by Gus van Sant (Elephant, Gerry, and Last Days), but it mixes this feeling with some of the contagious warmth, humor, and genuine emotional impact of Lucas Moodysson's Together (2000).
I think that whoever gave this film that (fatal) 1-star rating in Toronto must have popped in a screener tape, seen a lot of out-of-work young people goofing around and cracking some coarse jokes, and then tuned out at about the ten minute mark, writing this one off as yet another debut filmmaker mining the "slacker" genre for low-grade yux -- admittedly an unappealing prospect. But there's so much more at work here, and those who stay engaged in the film will be rewarded with unconventional but emotionally honest (and first-rate!) storytelling.
There is a lot of things about this film that I didn't understand.
There is no clear sense of direction, no understanding of motive in the
characters. It reminds me of Terance Malik's "The Thin Red Line"
(although they are very different).
But one thing I know for certain is that when I left the theater I was in a totally different state of mind then when I entered it. I felt calm and relaxed. This is why I voted 9/10 because not many films can do this.
And also reminded me of that period in life just between childhood and being an adult, that limbo where you are free, don't feel the obligations of the grown-up world but still with the sense not being a child.
Finally a Swedish Oscar contribution I can be proud of as a Swede.
Small towns in Sweden are safe and clean, not necessarily rural, but
perhaps not as stimulating as the Big City. Here we follow some kids in
a small town, Falkenberg and their angst about adulthood and the world.
What I like about "Farväl..." is its directness. It isn't trying to be
smart or deliver puns, but just shows what life was like in Falkenberg,
for the people that have made the film. They are also playing more or
less themselves, I understand.
The kids portrayed are without any real sense of purpose in their lives, but at the same time quite comfortable, and with deep friendships. Adults are depicted pretty much as half-dead bores, and in juvenile narcissistic manner, adulthood indeed seems akin to dying.
I think that the "twist" that provides the only real drama of the film is a bit adolescent, but perhaps its just a traditional "hero mythology", with the hero sacrificing himself so that others may live. An effort could have been made to drive home a few more points though, now you kind of wonder if the film-makers have bothered to take a step back to seriously consider what they want to say. Politics are kind of absent, except in a very small comment on the separation of girls and boys into different groups.
Swedish small town blues have been the subject of films before, in e.g. "Fucking Åmål" and "Masjävlar", but never in quite this naked way, I think. "Gitarrmongot" I guess comes closest in terms of the tone of the movie. Not exactly entertaining in the traditional sense, but gripping, and I am glad that the film was made.
IMO, this film is just as impressive as the hype suggested, and not
only the highlight of 2006, but also an instant classic and one of the
best Swedish films ever made. It's different from so much of today's
cinema, but in the best possible way. The main focus is on capturing a
feeling, a sensation, rather than traditional plot development, and
newcomer Jesper Ganslandt has pulled this off very well.
It centers around five 20-something childhood friends, their special bond with each other and their somewhat complex feelings about their hometown, the small seaside town of Falkenberg, on the Swedish west coast. As they spend their last summer together, drifting around and philosophizing, they try desperately to forget about the harsh reality that is just around the corner.
Faced with the prospect of having to move out, find jobs, conform to formalities, and eventually end up with the monotonous 9-to-5 life of their parents, they try to live completely in the moment and make the most of what's left. But as things take an unexpected turn, the end of summer comes to mean the end of something much more profound, which affects everyone in the group.
The film has a very realistic feel to it, underscored by the dialog,the unknown actors, the real-life locations and technicalities like hand-held camera. At the same time, the tone is often dream-like, not unlike Sofia Coppola's "Virgin Suicides", with a beautiful melancholy in images and music, and a slower pace that gives you rime to reflect.
What makes this film a winner is that it really gets under your skin and makes you care about the characters, as well as the intensity that draws you in and keeps you emotionally engaged. It also shows male friendship is very natural, yet utterly affecting way, which I think is a rare quality in contemporary film and quite a relief from all the stereotypes and clichéd alpha males.
To fully appreciate "Farväl Falkenberg" you'd probably have to be Swedish or have lived here for some time, as the scenery and everyday interactions of the small town environment gives the film much of its atmosphere, and part of its impact is the feeling of recognition. The essence of it, however - the emotional and psychological themes - is much more universal.
As is said in another comment you can not be told whether you will like
this film or not. You need to have something in your past or present
that helps you enter this group and understand or feel the things that
are left unspoken... and that is much. But if you have that, this film
is rewarding, tragic, beautiful and painful. Very good!
The minimal form of the film is perfect for the on the surface minimal story. But as any minimal art the content is there, but you will need to do at least half of the work of finding it. I enjoy that kind of film, and since I am able to relate to the story a great deal, this film was perfect for me!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film has not been received well, based both on the current rating
of 5.7 and the response of the audience at my film festival screening.
This doesn't surprise me, but I for one was totally into this movie
from start to finish.
At first blush it might seem like one of those annoying, meandering, pointless personal films which, being filmed digitally, doesn't even have the benefit of at least looking good. But such a quick judgment is completely unfair. This film is so naturally constructed and so casual about it's point that it's far from annoying. I thought the glimpse at young guys in-between growing up and real life was interesting. It's the same time of life depicted in 'I Vitteloni,' for example. These guys have yet to set their futures in motion. They are literally deciding what will they now do and where will they live. Many comparisons with the town's older folk and the parents highlight what's at stake: life...or just an existence. Fun stuff!
Yes, it's ugly. Basically the quality of a home movie. But the acting is phenomenal (these guys, two are brothers, really seem to have been friends growing up). The part that probably turns many people off is a lack of plot. What we get are vignettes that paint a picture and ultimately add up to something. I particularly like the lack of exposition. We are never told what to think or feel, we are never told "Here is the big profound point." It's all very casual. This fits the characters, fits the film, and made this 90 minute movie very watchable. It's short enough that it avoids becoming heavy and overbearing.
The very last scene carries weight (again, in that casual way) and says a lot. If you like movies, and like the language of movies, you will find this film interesting.
HERE'S A BIT OF A ***SPOILER***
My only beef is the visual connection of one of the characters with Curt Cobain. He had the same hair, wore a similar shirt and made a curious choice when it came to what his future will be. I've no problem with the choice, as it's simply one type of thing people do. But I thought making him look like Cobain was unnecessary and a bit distracting.
This is the story of five guys who live in Falkenberg, a Swedish sea-town, and know each other since they were little kids. Saying farewell to Falkenberg means to get rid of the childish habits that fill up their boring days and to start living and acting as adults. Falkenberg is most of all the environment (with his rivers, woods and the sea) and the style of this young director reminds the last Gus Van Sant's one, in particular for the shooting of the nature and for the way the character speaks with their gestures. A special mention as to go to the photographer, who succeed in the great effort of finding a realistic portrait of the characters in symbiosis with the environment.
Internationally known as "Falkenberg Farewell" this film deals with a
number of friends that get together for a last time during the summer
that bridges their lives between playful old children and young
responsible adults. Still having nothing to do but hang about and do
whatever they feel like they have one last breath of total freedom
before the harness of the daily rut takes them and binds them.
Starting with a short description of the main characters the film rolls slowly but steadily. When it is clear what everyone does and where everyone is going to it starts telling its actual story and it must be said: that is done a little messy. It looks like it tries to go in all directions at once and ends up staying right in the middle because of it. While it is clear about the message it wants to give off, it is far less clear about the way it revolves around the characters.
I wasn't really impressed with this film. Partly because I saw it during a film festival where it was surrounded by much better films, partly because it was so messy that it was hard to get into.
6 out of 10 summers ending
This is not a movie for a conventional Friday evening. There really
isn't a plot, until something happens after 70 minutes. There's
conversation, some philosophy and most of the feelings are told by
This is definitely a young men's world. Men on the borderline in some ways. The only women are a couple of mothers, who can be laughed at, but suddenly you find that there's nothing really ridiculous about them.
Anyway, everything is somewhat pretentious. This movie is a little to eager in showing that it doesn't care about what you think. The possible interpretations are also a little too many, but surely there's much talent here. To be shown in the next movie.
I saw recently saw this at the 2007 Palm Springs International film Festival and I can't believe that this is Sweden's official submission to the 79th Academy Awards to be considered for best foreign film. Producer Anna Anthony last year also had Sweden's official submission for best foreign film with Zozo. I wasn't personally a fan of Zozo but at least it had some production value to it. This could have been shot as a high school film project. As a short film it may have worked but as a feature film it is as lost as it's characters. This is a story about five twenty something friends who live in a small Swedish town and have no goals or hopes or ambitions for the future and like to live in the past of their long gone childhood. Actually Falkenberg isn't like some remote northern Swedish village. It's a popular summer resort with a population of city and townships of almost 40,000 and lies between two major southern coastal Swedish cities of Götborg and Malmo. The characters are likable enough guys but if they were high school age kids with a bleak or confused attitude about what they plan to do with their lives I would undoubtedly care about them more. They are however long past the point where they should be making plans to deal with adulthood. If they want to stay in Falkenberg forever than certainly there must be some jobs in the tourist or fishing industry instead of just riding bicycles, drinking, smoking pot and occasionally painting a house. Maybe if they hung around with a girl or two in their circle of friends, of which girls are absent from this film altogether which doesn't make sense. Jesper Ganslandt makes his directorial debut and co wrote the film along with the cinematographer, of which I use the term loosely, Fredrik Wenzel. the acting isn't too bad. I would give this a 4.5 out of 10 but despite it's submission for consideration for the Academy Awards I would not recommend it.
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