Force Majeure (2014)
Featurette-Ruben Ostlundís MIFF Introduction (2:34)
Trailer-Madman Propaganda x 4
|Year Of Production||2014|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Ruben ÷stlund|
Johannes Bah Kulnke
Lisa Loven Kongsli
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Swedish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††† Successful Swedish businessman Tomas (Johannes Bah Kulnke), his wife Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) and their two beautiful pre-teen children Vera and Harry (Clara and Vincent Wettergren) are on a five day holiday at an exclusive ski resort in the French Alps. On day two of their holiday they are having lunch in a restaurant on the mountain when an avalanche sweeps down and threatens to engulf them. Ebba tries to pick up her children to take them to safety but Tomas flees, leaving his family behind. The avalanche is contained, the restaurant is blanketed in only fine snow and no one is harmed; Tomas returns and they resume their lunch as if nothing had happened.
†††† Ebba, however, cannot forget Tomasí desertion of his family and this opens a rift in their relationship which also effects their children. Ebba brings up Tomasí flight during dinner with another couple and again a day later when the family is visited by Tomasí friend Mats (Kristofer Hivju) and his girlfriend, Fanny (Fanni Metelius), who is half his age. Tomas vehemently continues to deny that he abandoned his family, even when confronted by video evidence, and the tension within the family reaches a crisis during the remaining days of their holiday.
†††† Force Majeure (original title Turist) was written and directed by Ruben Ostlund and won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes in 2014. Ostlund and cinematographer Fredrik Wenzel have created a beautiful looking and slow moving drama about split-second choices, family, taking responsibility and the myth and reality of being male. While the family on screen may be fracturing, there is nothing fractious about the camerawork for the film is replete with very long, often static, takes of the mountains, the mists and the characters. These takes are also frequently silent; there is little use made of music and background ambience, such as wind, is mostly absent giving an almost otherworldly feel to the film. Johannes Bah Kulnke and Lisa Loven Kongsli are wonderful in both their silences and when they have dialogue, making their fraying relationship very believable and real. There are no histrionics here, the emotion and tension is played out in their faces and voices. The film plotting adds correspondences and comparisons to their relationship in the characters of Charlotte (Karin Myrenberg), who has left her husband and children behind to play up and find a lover, and Mats, divorced and travelling with a girl of 20 half his age, but these characters to my mind are less successful and especially the discussions between Mats and Fanny over-emphasise points already made and seem to take attention away from the dynamics between Tomas, Ebba and their children.
†††† Force Majeure raises interesting questions about split-second choices in the face of danger; what would you do if your loved ones were at risk? Then, having asked that question, the rest of the film provides no easy answers but is about owning up and taking responsibility for your actions.
†††† Force Majeure is presented in the original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
†††† Filmed entirely in the mountains, the colour palate is primarily grey or grey / white, with lots of widescreen shots of the mountains, snow and snow making operations although when the mist and clouds lift the sky is a deep, stunning blue. Interiors tend to be restrained in colour too. Close up detail is fine, blacks solid, shadow detail good, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent except on a few occasions where some interior shots in front of windows struggled with the outside glare and brightness.
†††† There was some slight ghosting but otherwise I did not notice any obvious marks or artefacts. The end titles are some of the most tiny I have seen and will be almost unreadable except on the largest screens.
††††English subtitles are available in a yellow font. They are clear and easy to read and I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors. They remained on for the sections of English dialogue, which can be distracting.
†††† The layer change was not noticeable on my equipment.
†††† Audio is a Swedish Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps, although there is dialogue in other languages.
†††† Dialogue is clear and centred. As noted, this is a film with a lot of silences so except for the occasional snatch of music the only sounds in the surrounds are some wind and the boom of the explosions used to trigger controlled avalanches. The sub-woofer added bass to the explosions.
†††† The score credited to Ola Flottum was almost non-existent except during the end titles. The body of the film made use of snatches of Vivaldiís Summer Concerto, mostly during transitions from one day to the next.
††††Lip synchronisation fine.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† From Sweden Ostlund provides a video introduction to the screening of Force Majeure at the Melbourne International Film Festival, showing off the island where he grew up.
†††† Trailers for Winter Sleep (1:52), Two Days, One Night (1:31), In Order of Disappearance (2:03) and Omar (1:54).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
†††† The Region A US Blu-ray version of Force Majeure includes as extras an interview with Ruben Ostlund and Johannes Bah Kulnke (16:43), a minor making of (2:37) and the trailer. I cannot find any details of whether these are also on the Region 1 DVD, but they donít really seem extensive enough to warrant importing. The Region 2 UK version is not due for release until the end of June.
†††† How can you tell what you would do when faced with a split-second decision, and what are the consequences of choices made in that split second? Un Certain Regard Jury Prize winner Force Majeure is compelling viewing; it is an interesting, well-acted, subtle and well-made drama that examines questions at the heart of one relationship.
†††† The DVD has good video and appropriate audio. The extras are limited.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|