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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Turist (aka Force Majeure) (2014)

A Swedish family on a skiing holiday in France are having lunch on the terrace of a restaurant when an avalanche rushes down the mountain toward them. While the mother's (Lisa Loven Kongsli) instinct is to protect her children, the father (Johannes Kuhnke) in a moment of panic runs away leaving his family. Fortunately, the avalanche stops short of the restaurant and everyone is okay but the father's act of self preservation precipitates a crisis in their marriage. This is the first film I've seen from director Ruben Ostlund and I'm very impressed. We all would like to think we know how we would react to a given situation and we often judge others harshly when they don't meet our expectations or standards. But truthfully, no one knows for sure how they would react in a split second situation: be a hero, run like mad or freeze up and do nothing. The onus of being "the man" and society's viewpoint on masculinity are put under a microscope. Ostlund smartly laces the film with humor which alleviates the simmering tension. The excellent performances of Kuhnke and Kongsli as the married couple are exemplary. It's Sweden's entry in this year's foreign language Oscar category and it certainly deserves to among the five selected.

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