Ett Hal I Mitt Hjarta

May 12th, 2008 by Vomitron
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Director, writer: Lukas Moodysson
Release year: 2004
English title: A Hole In My Heart

My heart: Incomplete. My head: Totally messed up!

One apartment. Four lost souls that could be our neighbours. A descent into their depraved minds following a downward spiral to self-destruction.

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(Possible mild spoilers follow…)

First off, let me quickly tell you what I thought of some of Lukas Moodysson‘s previous movies. His debut FUCKING AMAL was an honest and light-hearted little drama. TILLSAMANS (aka TOGETHER) was a warm and pleasant film, even a small iEtt Hal I Mitt Hjarta   cameracr reviews drama mprovement over his excellent debut. LILJA 4-EVER was a cold and harsh, mildly shocking drama with a solid reality-based and confronting story and a few subtle, dream-like touches. The latter probably still is my favorite Moodysson-movie. It already showed the changes Moodysson was going through as a film-maker. All three movies I watched together in the same company (a girl). We all liked them a lot, so naturally we were very much looking forward to seeing A HOLE IN MY HEART (of which we actually knew nothing about), expecting quite a lot of it… To come clean right away: We were surprised, disappointed and most of all: shocked! Though the contents of this film (both images and themes) really are truly disturbing, it weren’t really those that shocked me the most. What did was what this movie actually turned out to be, and even more: What has become of Lukas Moodysson! It seemed like Moodysson, after LILJA 4-EVER, skipped a few phases in his evolution as a film-maker, and then suddenly came up with this experiment (which is what it is really: an experiment, NOT a movie).

Ett Hal I Mitt Hjarta   hole eric reviews drama One could say that A HOLE IN MY HEART is reminiscent to the works of Marquis De Sade, but that’s all in the eye of the beholder. Moodysson also seems to mock reality TV and shows like BIG BROTHER. Does Moodysson protest against the porn industry or feels sorry for it? At one point it’s pretty obvious that he criticizes how modern pop culture tries to uphold a certain image of beauty, by putting a famous pop song underneath disgusting images of plastic surgery. He seems to try to make a statement about fame and the fakeness of it all. The viewer might find all these things in A HOLE IN MY HEART. But on the other hand, he might not. Moodysson presents all these ideas and thoughts in such a mixed up manner, that the end result is a complete mess. If he wanted to disorientate the viewer, then he succeeded. The downside is that the viewer is left with nothing.

Ett Hal I Mitt Hjarta   hole tess bigcr reviews drama So, what is it about? Well, you can forget about a plot, because there is none. Just four characters and the stuff they do in one of the character’s apartment. Rickard (Thorsten Flinck) lives in his apartment together with the timid Eric (Björn Almroth). The latter appears to suffer from some sort of autistic disorder or something (whatever it is, he’s got mental issues). He also has a deformed hand and some very weird hobbies: he has worms for pets, he seems to collect dirt and junk in his room (don’t ask me how it got there, since he is never seen leaving the apartment) and likes to listen to electronic noises and distortions through his headphones. Other than that, he does nothing (He’s actually Rickard’s son, but if you miss him saying “Pappa” in the beginning, then you’ll have no clue during the rest of the movie). Rickard himself is into making home-made porn videos. Other than that, he too does nothing else. Geko (Goran Marjanovic) is his friend and fellow porn actor who spends most of his time at Rickards place. Enter Tess (Sanna Bråding), a quite attractive young blond girl who is into hard sex, make-up, taking a lot of showers and snorting coke (amongst other things in general). Now prepare yourself for a disturbing descent into the depraved minds of these four characters. Admittedly, this might seem fascinating or intriguing, but however, due to the lack of any form of coherency whatsoever, also prepare for boredom to kick in about halfway through the movie and best expect it to never go away.

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Despite the nudity and pornographic subject matter in this film, not one single shot of penetration is shown (though a rather explicit female masturbation scene does grace the screen for a minute there). However, a lot of other offensive images are being shown (along with plenty of acts of the disturbed). Needless to go into them now (and besides that: I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone), but I’ll just name one random fact: You’ll never look at a juicy steak the same way again after having seen this film.

But now for the worst things about this whole experiment. I did some research after seeing A HOLE IN MY HEART (Written interview with Lukas Moodysson, a filmed discussion on the set, internet,…) and the things I suspected throEtt Hal I Mitt Hjarta   baseball batcr reviews drama ughout the movie turned out to be true. There wasn’t a real script to begin with (one page of the script, according to Moodysson, had only written the word “exorcism” on it). During the discussion on the set one actor even mentioned something along the lines of “It would be nice if he (Lukas) would at least give us a script to begin with”. Moodysson clearly had no clue what the hell he was doing while shooting this ‘movie’. Neither had his long-time director’s assistant, the crew or the actors. Moodysson only gave vague directions like “Don’t act, be yourself” or “This is actually a documentary, not a movie”. Apparently, at one point during pre-production, he also told the 17-year old Björn Almroth (who plays Eric) that it was going to be a vampire-movie (!), while he told another actor that it was going to be a thriller. Now, I’m not sure what to think of all that (was this little on-set out-take for real, or just staged in a desperate attempt to create a new hype surrounding Moodysson‘s latest movie?). He sure might have had a lot of ideas, but it was clear to me that in no way Moodysson was able to communicate them to his actors. At a given moment during the discussion, he even shut down and left the set, leaving the actors to continue spewing out their confused thoughts on this project.

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The viewer is very likely to be repulsed by the characters and their actions, and some might even feel sorry for them. Rather than being sad, I myself got annoyed by them. They drag you along on their trip into depravation to the point that you just want to quit the headtrip. Some viewers might want to stop the movie, I mainly wanted the characters to leave their forsaken apartment at least one time. But basically, they don’t (although there are a couple of short scenes on other locations). It seems like Moodysson is aware of all this and plays with it, especially at the end of the movie. But if you’re hoping for redemption for any of the characters, then better hope for something else because you’ll end up severely disappointed.

Ett Hal I Mitt Hjarta   food fightcr reviews drama True thing might be that a lot of metaphors and statements are to be found in this movie, but as a viewer you just have no clue what to look for. So if anyone says to you: “This movie is about this or that” or “This is what Moodysson is trying to say”, then be careful and take it with a big grain of salt. Because you will never be sure until you’ve asked the director himself (and I even doubt he can give you a straight answer himself). Still, because of his wonderful previous movies, I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but then I found out some things about his new movie CONTAINER (2006). It looks like Moodysson is determined to continue this cinematographic path he has chosen, and now I am fearing the worst: Could it be that Moodysson finally has lost it?

Ett Hal I Mitt Hjarta   tess bed reviews drama But I’d like to add just a few more positive notes though. On a technical level, this movie is pretty interesting. Especially the editing is remarkable and progressive. The same can be said about the many sound effects and the way the blend together with the on-screen images (as well as the complete absence of any sound in some scenes). It also strangely leads to the conclusion that both editor and director might have been on drugs, which actually could be a good thing in experimental film-making. And that just was another key-word here: “Experimental” (film-making), instead of the word “Amateur” some people like to apply on this film. No matter what’s being said, Moodysson is an experienced and gifted film-maker, so why he decided to throw all his knowledge overboard is beyond me. Indeed, A HOLE IN MY HEART might have worked very effectively as an experimental short-film, but as a full length feature it just gets old after 45 minutes.

As a movie, A HOLE IN MY HEART could be considered by many as the ultimate flaw. But love it or hate it: This still remains an unforgettable piece of film. And if Moodysson just made this to evoke things amongst viewers, then he succeeded. The sexual acts are provocative, both arousing and disturbing at the same time. The characters, how irritating they might get, do not leave you stone cold. The movie might annoy you or make you angry, but either way it lures a reaction out of you. I have a difficult time recommending this to anybody, as I have a lot of trouble with liking much about it myself. But people who have seen Makavejev‘s SWEET MOVIE, Lars von Trier‘s THE IDIOTS, Harmony Korine‘s GUMMO or maybe (but to a lesser extend) Dylan Bank‘s NIGHTMARE might be interested in seeking out this Moodysson effort. But an important thing to keep in mind is that all the aforementioned movies had at least some sort of story, as where A HOLE IN MY HEART doesn’t even try to tell one.

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To end this all, I feel I just might want to suggest something to Lukas Moodysson himself: Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing to go and visit a psychiatrist and get some good medication. Then, please come back and make another movie, this time telling another decent story like you used to do some years ago. Otherwise I’d suggest going back to your first love and start writing poetry again. Good luck either way.

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