“Force Majeure” directed by Ruben Ostlund (2014).
This a complex and character driven Swedish film which dissects issues of gender and relationships amongst characters trapped by the weather in an upmarket ski resort in the French Alps. It features Johannes Bah Kuhnke as Tomas and Lisa Loven Kongsli as Ebba as the couple whose marital problems emerge during the story. Thorny issues tackled by the script include fidelity versus open relationships, male machismo and male vulnerability, the ritualisation of guilt, and the role of modern technology as both cause of and arbiter in domestic disputes.
Personally, I lost patience when the film tried to form a neat conclusion about the unstable compromise which results from our inability to satisfactorily resolve these issues, but then it is a film which is designed to provoke debate.
Overall the film is an invigorating ensemble piece in which we observe the outdoor world being a little introspective about modern relationships and gender expectations in outdoor sports. Although the alpine settings are magnificent, the film is ultimately thought provoking and philosophical rather than action adventure or ski porn – which may or may not appeal to you.
“The Way” directed by Emilio Estevez (2010)
This film is a reflective piece set on the Camino de Santiago which focuses on a father, played by Martin Sheen, who, on discovering that his son has been killed in a Pyrenean storm while hiking this trail, decides to complete the pilgrimage in his honour. The film explores the ways in which the central character Tom is gradually changed by his experiences along this trail, as he meets a mixture of local people, religious pilgrims, hikers, divorcees and eccentrics from around the world, united by their urge to seek temporary refuge from their lives.
Moments of comedy and reflection occur amongst the characters which gradually enable Tom to face his loss and lay his son to rest. The fact that the director Emilio Estevez and the main actor Martin Sheen are father and son possibly gave emotional weight to the final result. The pace is thoughtful, the surroundings authentic and the characters are drawn from a cross spectrum of people reminiscent of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.
All the above were purchased for the normal price.