Film Scouts Diaries

2010 Festroia International Film Festival Diaries
Part 2: The (Very) Bad…

by Henri Béhar

SETUBAL, PORTUGAL, June 6, 2010 -- Nasty is good. Or at least, can be. Jesper Ganslandt's The Ape (Sweden, in Competition) is about a very disturbed man. A tense, irate driving instructor, whom we first discover waking up on a bathroom floor covered with vomit and worse. Has Krister (Olle Sarri) he done something terrible? We are not sure. How terrible is that "terrible" deed? That, you may, or may not, find out at the end of an increasingly dark journey that would make Austrian director Michael Haneke look like Busby Berkeley. Not a pleasant film, but an intriguing one.

If The Ape can be called "nasty", Branko Schmidt's Metastases (Croatia, in Competition) is downright brutal. The spreading cancer the title alludes to is not medical, but socio-political. Alcohol, drugs, intolerance, forced prostitution, domestic violence, neo-nazism reborn are but some of the problems that affect a group of four low-middle-aged men. The action takes place in Croatia, but it could happen in any country in the world – check your favorite paper or TV channel. Some have described this film as a "Croatian Trainspotting with older people". Difficult to gauge. If the dialogue (an almost lyrical stream of foul-mouthitude) feels cut-and-pasted from real life, the English subtitles do not do it justice – although, in all fairness, that may be an impossible task.

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