Author Topic: Force Majeure  (Read 8639 times)

Corndog

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Force Majeure
« on: January 20, 2015, 03:50:10 PM »
How did others read the ending?

I for one am convinced that Ebba becoming "lost" was a setup. But I'm still not sure whether Tomas was in on it or not. Did she do it to see how Tomas would react? Or were they in on it for the sake of the kids being able to see Tomas do something "heroic" and save their mother, to make up for his running away at the avalanche?

I tend to think Tomas was in on it and they were doing it for the kids, but I can't quite make up my mind.
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Junior

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Re: Force Majeure
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2015, 04:02:53 PM »
Oh, that's not a thing I thought about at all when it comes to the ending, but it is an interesting question. I can see it being a set-up, though that's a bit of irresponsible parenting that feels a little out of place in the movie if it is the case.

The part of the ending I thought about most were the shots of them walking down the hill. I think the stuff with the bus was a pretty obvious turning of the tables on the wife, but was the husband just kind of shutting up and letting things ride unlike what she did, based on his saving her earlier, or are we supposed to assume that the cycle would continue (I don't actually believe this, I just think it is kinda left open to that possibility)?
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1SO

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Re: Force Majeure
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2015, 04:37:52 PM »
I'm with Junior. Didn't question the rescue, but thought the bus ending was an inspired way of putting things back on the wife. I love how natural her anxiety increases in that scene. How she clearly becomes the most frightened passenger on the bus, and how cooly the husband reacted to it, rather than using the walking time to spark another conversation.
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Junior

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Re: Force Majeure
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2015, 04:50:33 PM »
That's about my reading as well, 1SO.
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Corndog

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Re: Force Majeure
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2015, 06:07:32 PM »
The take on the bus is a great point and one I had not even considered. But going back to the rescue, I thought for sure it was a setup with the way when they got back down the hill to the kids she gets up all fine and perfect after having been carried down the hill and starts to march back up presumably to get her skis and continue on with the rest of the family. If she was just lost, why did Tomas have to carry her, and if she was injured, why did she get right back up and appear perfectly fine when they got back to the kids?

I also don't feel like it's out of place, especially if Tomas was not in on it. Ebba continually points out how Tomas ran away, taking any opportunity to tell anyone else, so she seems the type to test him like that.
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Alan Smithee

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Re: Force Majeure
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 03:00:25 AM »
Is this going to be on Criterion?

Knocked Out Loaded

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Re: Force Majeure
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2015, 05:10:27 AM »
I too felt they staged the rescue in the fog for the kids sake in a kind of clumsy, but wonderful, way. What happened later on the bus ride felt very tacked on, I think.

Force Majeure won six trophies at the Swedish Film Awards yesterday, which is an all time high record. The film won for Best film, Best direction, Best male supporting actor, Best photo, Best editing and Best script.
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Corndog

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Re: Force Majeure
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 07:42:50 AM »
Best male supporting actor

Yay! I loved Mats.
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Alan Smithee

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Re: Force Majeure
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2015, 04:31:02 AM »
I loved the film, but I'm not seeing what people are finding so funny about the film, sure the creepy hotel maintenance man is funny and the crying scene near the end is kind of funny until you see the kids crying inside, but what else?

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Re: Force Majeure
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2015, 01:25:26 AM »
To paraphrase a Kermodeism vis a vis the Danes: Swedish comedy, it's no laughing matter.

Anyway, as to Corndog's question, I am 100% convinced the thing in the fog was Ebba's set-up, I think probably without Tomas' knowledge.

Force Majeure (2014)

It is a great challenge in cinema to use the tools of the art to ask an interesting question. It is an even greater challenge to answer such a question. Force Majeure does an amazing job establishing the question, centered on a scene where a family, on holiday at a ski resort in France, witnesses a controlled avalanche while eating lunch, and as it seems it might actually put them at risk, the father runs off ahead of his wife and children. This instinctual moment, and the implications it has for both the self-perception of Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) and how his wife Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) views him, are potent, cascading drama even to those around them. There's a lot of questions of masculinity bound up in this, on one hand the image of the heroic male who puts women and children first, on the other the male of the wilds who swoops in for mating and swoops out just as fast.

I feel like there is a partial metaphor going on here, in that there is an otherwise kind of baffling sequence involving another woman at the resort who is in some kind of polyamorous relationship who faces a rather blistering line of inquiry from Ebba, who feels rather doubtful about the ability of such openness to not collapse into pain, especially for the children. Is this male instinct being questioned not actually about protecting the family in a time of danger but about his infidelity? And when another couple starts to bicker over whether the man would be braver in the face of the avalanche, is it really an argument over views of fidelity?

Monogamy is not natural enough for the majority of people to successfully practice, yet we have structured families in such a way that when this likely event occurs, we practically demand that it shatter families. It is kind of interesting to think of this film as a family holding things together after infidelity, but I'm not sure it is tight enough as a metaphor to pay off fully.

Of course, if this isn't metaphor, the results are worse as things like the discussion over the woman's polyamory seem like baffling non sequiturs. After such a rousing start, it feels a bit aimless for a large chunk of the second half, at least when it is not giving in to scenes of pretty absurdly overemotional response. I mean, when Tomas ends up in a big tent with a bunch of half-naked guys, is that some sort of reclaiming manhood voyage? When Ebba panics on the bus ride down from the mountains, is that a restoration of the proper order, where women are hysterics? When Tomas decides to accept another man's offer for a cigarette and the film closes on him proudly embracing to his son that he smokes, are we seeing smoking as the ultimate sign of secured masculinity? No, smoking give you cancer you dumb ass. The exploration of masculinity approach gets rather frightening so I guess I'll stick with the slightly frayed monogamy approach.

B-