19 April 2015

Ruben Östlund’s ‘Force Majeure’

Force Majeure, according to Wikipedia, is “… a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties … prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations …”, the contract in this case being that of marriage. 

An apparently model Swedish family are at the beginning of their skiing holiday in an upmarket resort in the Savoie. In a sudden Alpine crisis the father lets his family down badly. Over the next few days we see the reactions of his children, easy to understand, and his wife, not surprisingly disturbed and questioning of their relationship -. While he moves from denial to self-abnegation, she has to decide what to do with their marriage. 

This film is well-made and well-acted and the conclusion makes it symmetrical – solid Swedish design. If you like skiing, it won’t put you off, but otherwise – well, if you thought the First Prize in a competition was a week in a French ski resort, the Second would be two weeks.

Force Majeure (Turist in the original) is described by its UK distributors as a black comedy, but if so Östlund is well apart from Almadovar. In 2014 at the Cannes Film Festival it took the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category which encourages the discovery of new talent.

No comments:

Post a Comment