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Stay Puft
03-30-2015, 02:20 AM
FORCE MAJEURE
Dir. Ruben Ístlund

http://i.imgur.com/tPQJTgq.jpg

IMDb page (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3630276/)

Stay Puft
03-30-2015, 02:24 AM
Oops, this was supposed to go in 2014.

dreamdead
03-30-2015, 02:42 AM
Here you go. Keep meaning to start this one; news of an American remake is gonna make get to it sooner rather than later...

Stay Puft
03-30-2015, 03:00 AM
That was fast. Thanks, dd!

Anyways, this is pretty sharp. The parts feel greater than the whole here but the central dilemma is engaging. It's tightly directed, well acted, extremely uncomfortable at times and also uncomfortably funny. Not sure what to make of the ending, though. It seems to have two. I like the second episode because of how it protracted the film's uncomfortable humor (as a standalone vignette it's one of my favorite scenes) but I'm not sure what it adds to the already-ironic previous "conclusion" (and only after did I find out that many of these scenes are based on viral youtube videos, and I haven't figured out how that changes the reading, if at all).

I can't imagine what an American remake would add to this, but I fear it'd whiff the tone.

Peng
03-30-2015, 11:26 AM
Yeah, also a weird film to remake, but they counter my high skepticism a bit by having JLD as the lead. And now I somehow want Jason Sudeikis for the male role.

Rowland
04-10-2015, 06:30 AM
One of last year's best, available streaming on Netflix for those in the U.S. Not only is it dramatically devastating and thematically thorny as fuck, but it's a formal masterwork, and mordantly funny to boot.

dreamdead
04-12-2015, 11:48 AM
As a formal study, this film is constantly invigorating. The style and structure are phenomenal. I do feel there's some symbolic overreach--the direct to camera male nightclub partying and the epilogue--but Ostlund has a great eye for filmic composition and the single take of the initial drama is stunning in both its beauty and its horror.

I wondered at two things: 1) is the epilogue there to essentially level the playing field and have Ebba panic first and rush off the bus rather than gather her family before exiting? If so, is the extended walkalong really just there to confer redeeming masculinity to Tomas and Mats? and 2) did anyone else question if Ebba staged the conclusion's disappearance (on the mountain top) as a final test to assess whether Tomas could actualize his promise to be better? I realize this is purposely ambivalent in its structure, but Sarah and I were both more on a test interpretation than an Ebba suffering an actual injury...

Idioteque Stalker
05-05-2015, 04:24 AM
My gut reaction was that It wasn't so much a final test by Ebba as much as it was gracious opportunity to allow Tomas to redeem himself to both her and the children.

Grouchy
06-18-2015, 06:12 PM
2) did anyone else question if Ebba staged the conclusion's disappearance (on the mountain top) as a final test to assess whether Tomas could actualize his promise to be better? I realize this is purposely ambivalent in its structure, but Sarah and I were both more on a test interpretation than an Ebba suffering an actual injury...
I thought about this too because on the next scene she doesn't look hurt in any way. Also, she says something to the effect of "is everyone happy now?", I don't recall exactly.

Anyway, GREAT film. I'm with Stay Puft in that I like the bus driving epilogue as a stand-alone scene but I don't fully understand what it's supposed to contribute to the ending. Other than that, this is beautiful and truly original. It's a family drama that's shot as both a suspense film and an awkward dark comedy.

Melville
07-28-2015, 11:37 PM
So good. Its study of relationship strains is razor sharp, and I can't think of a better examination of masculinity. The suffocating emotional stress and humiliation is brutal. And I loved the narrative structure, the visual and aural motifs, and the camera's oscillation between cool distance and inescapable proximity to the drama, all of which lace that drama with irony.


did anyone else question if Ebba staged the conclusion's disappearance (on the mountain top) as a final test to assess whether Tomas could actualize his promise to be better? I realize this is purposely ambivalent in its structure, but Sarah and I were both more on a test interpretation than an Ebba suffering an actual injury...
I think the disappearance was definitely staged. What was less clear was whether Tomas was in on it. I got the impression that the two of them planned it together to reassure the children (and to tell themselves a comforting story about Tomas and their marriage).

Spinal
10-24-2016, 07:21 PM
I think the disappearance was definitely staged. What was less clear was whether Tomas was in on it. I got the impression that the two of them planned it together to reassure the children (and to tell themselves a comforting story about Tomas and their marriage).

Yep. This was my take also. The two of them have had the nature of their relationship cracked in a way that is irreparable. This was a way for them to move forward as best they could.

As for the final scene, I am not sure that I fully grasp it. However, I think it's significant that the person who does not get off the bus is the woman involved in an open relationship. Is there a benefit to that choice? More adventure? The thrill of risk? Is it a reckless choice? I'm not exactly sure.

Also, I would disagree with dreamdead that there is redeeming masculinity for Tomas in this scene. Mats is the one to step up and offer instructions to the rest of the passengers. Mats is the one that is asked to carry Ebba's child. Tomas is basically passive throughout. His final cigarette reads, to me, as a final acceptance of his own imperfect nature. Ebba is the one who was proactive in getting the family out of a dangerous situation. Another man (Mats) was the one who supported her with a moment of leadership and a moment of strength. Tomas is just going along with the crowd.

Gittes
10-24-2016, 11:45 PM
It's been a year since I saw this great movie, but I never quite arrived at a satisfying explanation for the epilogue (which I found moving despite not quite getting it). I really like your reading of it, Spinal.

That final shot nagged at me like an unsolved puzzle. There's something about that exodus of people marching forward from uncertainty and toward uncertainty that was so clearly emblematic of something, but I couldn't crack it. They're all gathered together, which is the obverse of Tomas' earlier gesture of frantic self-preservation. One of Tomas' children is being carried by someone else. Is the suggestion, then, that in a world fraught with contingency, we must move forward in a spirit of collaboration and solicitude (i.e., extending our support not only outside of ourselves and toward our family, but also toward the anonymous crowds — the otherness we need to recognize and succour)?

So, is the image of Tomas walking alongside those people meant to be a reframing of the thematic parameters? A shift from the specific familial circle of the film toward the people that are watching the film, thereby encouraging us to see these dilemmas and anxieties within a larger context? Encouraging us to view Tomas not as an aberrant coward, but as an example of a broader, fallible human experience that should always involve striving toward a wise negotiation of self-interest and selflessness? It's like a moral charge from director to audience?

Those were the kind of rambling thoughts I remember contending with after my viewing. But I'm not sure how much of that amounts to a persuasive reading. The "moral charge" angle is complicated by the center of the shot seemingly conveying Tomas' acceptance — or continued avoidance — of his own weaknesses (while acceptance of weakness is partly how improvement begins, I question to what degree Tomas is actually on the road to improvement).

I appreciate the elegance and incisiveness of your line: "His final cigarette reads, to me, as a final acceptance of his own imperfect nature."

Spinal
10-25-2016, 06:37 PM
Yeah, good thoughts. What is really unusual about the film for me is that the consequences suffered by Tomas (and by extension, Ebba) are not really the result of greed, hubris, arrogance or any of the other things that would typically trigger a protagonist's descent into pain and misery. They are not really even the result of conscious decisions. From my reading, it seems that the film would have us accept that Tomas truly reacted by instinct in the face of the avalanche and that his later accounting of events was a result of deep psychological denial. There is room to believe that Tomas knows what happened and is consciously lying. However, when confronted with the video, he seems genuinely disturbed, as if he is watching actions that he took during a period of blackout.

And so, if we look back at the beginning of the film, it seems to me that the family's only 'mistake' or 'sin' is having belief in safety or comfort. This is interesting, because viewed that way, the films opens up to all sorts of possibilities and is no longer simply a story about a marriage in distress. The avalanche could represent acts of terrorism, unexpected disease, the loss of a job, or any of the other things that could shatter our illusions of how capable we are of protecting and providing for those around us.

And so, yes, I do think there is a shift in the final scene towards opening up to being a part of a community that may have strengths to balance out your weaknesses.

I'll still not sure what to do with that woman who stays on the bus though. :)