Feb 06, 2015

(2008, Sweden, 35mm, 98 min)

Five separate vignettes about (alternately dangerous and unsettlingly funny) ramifications of peer pressure are woven together, with scathingly satirical effects, in Involuntary

In a modern and ultimately more sinister version of John Updike’s “A&P,” we meet two barely teenaged girls from the POV of their laptop camera as they painstakingly pose sexily in a Photobooth shoot. In a vignette of a middle-aged dinner party, the stubborn host’s mishap with a firecracker gives new meaning to “losing face.” In another scene set in an idyllic country field of high grass, a group of young men turn on one of their own (or perhaps turn one on) in a predatorial unleashing of repressed sexual tension. Östlund described his second feature as “a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy.”

Screens with:
Incident by a Bank
(2009, Sweden, 12 min) 

Based on a real-life account of a bank robbery witnessed (and filmed) by two bystanders across the street, Östlund’s study of surveillance earned the Golden Bear for Best Short Film at Berlinale. His slow zooms and pans across vast public spaces —and  his  implicit  question,  “who  watches  the  watchers?”—may  remind  some viewers of Michael Haneke’s Caché.

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