Dir: LukasMoodysson. 2004. Sweden/Norway. 98mins.
Sweden's LukasMoodysson takes an astonishing journey to the dark heart of humanity in hisfourth feature A Hole In My Heart. Audaciously expressionistic andcinematically experimental, it will be one of Toronto's talking points andprompted plenty of walkouts at the first screenings.
Set almostentirely in a dingy apartment in the city, it features just four characters -an amateur pornographer called Rickard (Flinck), the two stars in his latestflick Eric (Marjanovic) and Tess (Brading) and his shy son Eric (Almroth) whosits watching their antics from his bedroom. Shot with handheld DVCam cameras,the film follows the shooting of the porno.
With the help ofbooze and drugs, Rickard, Eric and Tess push the boundaries of excess as thesession goes on. Degrading sex is just the opening gambit in a game that veersout of control into verbal and physical abuse, threatened and imagined violenceand a humiliating food orgy. All the time, Eric, a silent Goth with a crippledhand, watches from his bedroom.
The film is moreexperiential than dramatic. Using all manner of aural and visual effects -jittery camera, muffled sound, magnified close-ups of skin, static, feedbackand interference on the soundtrack, stretches of silence, multi-layereddialogue, dolls playing out the central drama, horrific images of labialsurgery - Moodysson illustrates the anguished emptiness of the lives of thefour and the desperate, grasping efforts of the three adults to reach the nextlevel of visceral stimulation and avoid the "holes" in their heart.
Final revelationsabout Rickard's past suddenly switch the mood of the film towards the end andMoodysson, the humanist, emerges as if like a butterfly from one of Eric'sworms.
It's an oftenexcruciating experience infused with a sense of foreboding and dread which,while never realized a la Irreversible,makes it an equally disturbing film. Mainstream buyers will shy away from afilm which features explicit sex, constant male and female nudity, scenes ofplastic vaginas being penetrated by toy soldiers, self-induced vomiting andrepeated shots of Tess' labia being sliced off. Daring arthouse buyers will seeits passion, but it's less of an accessible film than Irreversible and will sitbetter in high art screens and cinematheques than conventional arthousescreens.
But thenMoodysson, who even refers to the Reagan era in the film, is expressing a darkand ugly worldview which many people share. Everything from plastic surgery togun use is put under the director's sad, angry gaze.
Prod co: Memfis Film
Worldwide sales: Trust Film Sales
Prod: Lars Jonsson
Scr: Lukas Moodysson incollaboration with Bjorn Almroth, Sanna Brading, Thorsten Flinck, MalinFornander, Jesper Kurlandsky, Goran Marjanovic, Karl Strandlind
Cine/prod des: Malin Fornander,Jesper Kurlandsky, Lukas Moodysson, Karl Strandlind
Ed: Michal Leszczylowski
Main cast: Thorsten Flinck, SannaBrading, Bjorn Almroth, Goran Marjanovic