14 March 2010

Guidance / Behandlingen (Johan Jonason, 2009, Sweden)

I don't think I'd have ever seen this movie if it weren't for the Siskel Center's EU Film Festival that's going down this month. I've felt so lethargic and antisocial that this is the first time I've made it down there. I wasn't sure about this movie going in.
I wasn't sure what to make of the trailer. I ended up quite liking it though. It's about Roy, a 57-year old man who's been away from work for a year because of a bad back. He seems lethargic and depressed and he's stuck in a rut that he doesn't much seem to be getting out of. Carl, a self-professed alternative therapist overhears Roy's wife Ylva talking to a friend about Roy's malaise in what seemed like a mall. Carl convinces the wife to deliver Roy to him so he can undergo therapy. Things out at Carl's camp are little strange. Carl has some issues and the therapy seems erratic and not quite professional. Meanwhile, Ylva is up to her own mischief back at home until she gets worried about Roy as she senses things aren't really adding up and sets out to find him. There is something so fantastic about the light in this movie. It's at once warm and cool and it made me feel so good just to watch it. The end is a little strange but sort of delicious and it produced an unanticipated joy in me that I found myself wishing I could dwell in for a long time. I still haven't decided how this movie worked its magic on me but it was very engaging and there was something cathartic and uplifting about it. B+

EDIT- You know, I think part of the effect for me was the feeling that I might really want to undergo a treatment like that. Out in this desolate gorgeous Scandinavian coastal region without any modern conveniences or anything. It reminded me of a few years ago when I cut my internet usage to a minimum and stopped watching television and things. I felt so much more alive then and part of the world. I also read substantially more. It seems so unlikely to me that there was a time when I'd get home from work at midnight, read myself to sleep, wake up at six or seven and ride my bicycle along the lakefront, run assorted errands, clean the kitchen, and back to work again, with all kinds of reading and meetings at coffee shops and so forth. I guess that sort of ties in to my experience with No Impact Man and how disappointed I am that I'm so addicted to prepared foods that the idea of cooking something in my own apartment seems incredibly exotic and otherworldy domestic. Plus how I need a drill sergeant to make me run up mountains and so forth. There seemed something so idyllic about it that taps into the part of me that enjoyed growing up in rural northern Wisconsin and often tries to trick the addicted to big city life part of me that gets frustrated after about thirty hours of being outside the city. As to the wife's shenanigans, I can't decide what made that so compelling for me. I also feel like it's only compelling if I read it the way I read it when I watched the movie. There's a way to look at it that's less empowering but I'm choosing to believe the film is more progressive than that, if only to suit my own needs. This post has violated my vague guidelines about this space because it's too much about me. I guess this space is supposed to be a diary of the movies I watch and my reactions to them so we'll see how that develops...

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