Monday, 27 April 2015

Week 17: Force Majeure

Writer/Director: Ruben Ostlund
Seen: Sunday 26th April 2015
Venue: Eye Cinema Galway
Snacks: Salty popcorn with malteasers mixed in (yeah you know it!!!)
Mood: Contemplative

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In Galway we do not get a great deal of the vast amounts of brilliant world cinema around  (as I have ranted about previously) so we were delighted to stumble upon the Eye Cinema showing Force Majeure. A Swedish film by director Ruben Ostlund about a young couple Tomas (Johannes Kuhnkne) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) travelling to the French Alps with their two young children on holiday.
The scenery is beautiful, there is plenty of snow, the sun is shining and everything should be perfect but a random snow avalanche during lunch one day leaves the couple shaken in more ways than one.
I dont want to give too much away but it isn’t an action film (as you might think from the premise)  its a film about the roles we play.The role of patriarch and the idea that once that is compromised it is very difficult to redeem oneself. After the incident in question the couple struggle to maintain normalcy both in their own ways trying to deny and gloss over  what has happened until they eventually break down in truly awkward style in front of two friends who have come to visit. Tomas tries to justify his actions leading to his eventual emotional breakdown which is prolonged and desperate.

It is a film about gender roles particularly the idea of masculinity and  the notion of protection within a family.What happens in a situation when you act first by pure nature and thought is just something that occurs after the fact?
What would any of us do when confronted with our own immortality, in that fleeting moment before possible danger? The translation of force majeure is superior force and this can be taken to mean many things when looking at this film, the force of nature (as in the force of the landscape that surrounds us) but also the force of our own nature and what we do when we betray ourselves.
The film is beautifully shot and the acting is on point by both leads.The direction is sharp from Ruben Ostlund and I will be interested in seeing his other films. All in all a well deserved winner of Winner of the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard competition in Cannes in 2014.

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