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En kärlekshistoria (1970)
A Swedish Life Story
Quite a few years ago, when I fell in love with Roy Andersson, it was mainly in relation to his late aestheticism, his realist-absurdist films Sånger från andra våningen and Du levande, but also his brilliant short films. Now that I finally got round to this early film of his, I can only confirm that I am no longer in love, rather that I definitely love this director.
Kärlekshistoria is a cinematic experience very much different than his later work and, at the same time, to a considerable extend related to it. This apparent ambiguity lies in the different realist/absurdist relations. While Sånger/Du levande present very real aspects of life in all their absurdity, in Kärlekshistoria it is content, rather than form that is dominantly absurd(ist). In this particular film, you will not meet a colourful cast of no-name people painfully engaged; entrapped into their miserable lives that do not seem to go anywhere. No old people dragging their dogs in the street, or weird-looking strangers in bars. However, this is not to say that that brand of cinematic opulence is absent from En kärlekshistoria. Quite the contrary, the characters do indeed feel the same things, do the same things, fail at the exact same things. In fact, I would go so far as to imply that both his earlier and his recent films revolve around the same: the dramatic irony that represents the essence of (failed) human condition.
The (prominent) love storyline is set in the only context possible: childhood. This storyline is dominant, in terms of screen time as well as in terms of soundtrack; you basically watch two teenage souls fall in love, or something akin to it, if at times too much aided by music. At first the setting did not seem very Anderssonesque, though, almost alien to the image I'd remembered and cherished the director. What is more, I will concede to being slightly annoyed at the whole construction of the film. Naturally, after some time I acknowledged how misled I was.
Actually, it was not until the last half an hour of the film that it, at long last, started to dawn upon me, when En kärlekshistoria's subtle and darker implications started unfurling. I felt like a stranger to the world of adults, as opposed/juxtaposed to the world of the young love- birds that I got to know and relate to. Mayhap I was too distracted at that point to fathom it, or to even recognise its presence/omnipotence, but, at any rate, I am quite sure this narrative device is deliberate. The music, I believe, served to push the boy-meets-girl story to the fore, leaving the adults to mind their own business and, consequently, the viewer not to.
Bottom line should be the tagline. Moments of truth. It is also worth mentioning that this is one of the few titles whose taglines actually do a pretty darn good job at announcing what it will be about. It is precisely about the moments of truth, about the cracks in one's life, details that at some point overload one, demanding one's full and undivided attention. En kärlekshistoria gives one the dots, but at the end it is one who is left with the job of finding and connecting them into a whole. Once you accomplish that, the magic and the potency of this film is sure to follow.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
From scary to outrageous.
This movie is not utter crap, but it's not a work of genius either. It's far-fetched, and I don't mean it in the way that it features supernatural beings, no, but in the way that its unpredictability is so predictable. It's as if the creators of the movie couldn't really decide what to do with it except to make it as ludicrous as possible. Furthermore, while I am aware of Whedon's commentary, explicitly stated ideas of the movie, I consider it not important. Because, frankly, this movie couldn't function as a satire even if it got to the top of Mount Everest and shouted angrily at the world for not being what it was supposed to be.
I mean, the big red button? Convenient but completely needless. The machinery and the scenery was obviously just built to be destroyed. So expect the expected here. I mean, conditioning people to do what is necessary so that the show goes on? I mean, Sigourney Weaver telling us it's the end of times? I mean, appeasing the gods by means of an ancient ritual, okay, okay, but then what the hell are them all people doing there? How did they get there? They just gathered to save the world? It's incomplete, the movie, littered with inconsistencies that can hardly be called intentional. No explanations are offered, no delving into the matter. All in all, very superficial in nature. Also, the movie funny? Seriously, if this is considered to funny I really. Eh. Not even going to deign to finish that sentence. It has its moments to be sure, but then again watching wallpapers crumpling has its moments too.
It starts out promising, though, as promising a cabin movie can seem. But the more you see it, the less you like it. And I wouldn't agree with whoever said that the characters were likable. The plot does not allow for that. In fact, the plot forbids it. It manages to ruin their potential with clichés and clichéd anti-clichés, be it intentionally or unintentionally. At the very end, when they are about to die, my reactions were poker face. No feeling of sorrow or compassion.
Oh Hollywood, why such lack of original originality I'll never know.