this is a remarkable film. i can’t honestly think of where to start…i suppose the first thing that struck me was the visual style of the film. interiors (with the exception of home spaces) are colorful and clean, exteriors are generally dirty and cluttered. interiors are also shot entirely on an angle. the sets are constructed in such a way, or the camera is placed in such a way, that we almost always face a corner. if you’re watching a play then the back wall is parallel to your viewing angle, but in this film the room is rotated about 90 degrees so that the bottom of the back wall runs diagonally – rather than horizontally – through the middle of the screen. this choice allows for an amazing amount of depth within each composition. depth of field isn’t emphasized very much with the use of a wide angle lens, but this doesn’t detract at all from the depth that these interior compositions has. this element alone makes the film interesting to watch, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg. every shot is thoughtfully composed, and needs to be because the camera doesn’t move at all. remarkably, i didn’t even notice this obvious fact until about 30-40 minutes into the film. i think this is a result of the great energy that each composition has; or maybe i’m just trying to save face.
to take a step back, the film is a comedic surrealist drama. that description coupled with the fact that it’s a swedish picture would likely scare off most viewers. i’m not generally a fan of surrealist film, but this one isn’t over the top, or completely nebulous. sure, there is little sense that is made over the entire course of the film and there are seeming non-sequitors within just about every scene, but somehow it all works – either comedically, dramatically, or artistically. that, i’ll admit, is just a matter of opinion so you’ll have to see it to decide for yourself…there are certain motifs that are visited throughout the film…love, loss, home life, isolation, de-humanization effect of economics, etc.
also, while interiors are generally fairly colorful, people’s faces are generally extremely white…and not just because they’re swedish. at some point it is implied, or maybe revealed, that the people we are observing are dead, and this certainly would be supported by their dead looking skin color and the surreal nature of their environment. a great film for those who are willing to give it a try.