Film festivals, and you will forgive me for this autistic digression, also experience their own media and even existential ordeal. They are supposed to be there to give visibility to what does not have it and, more importantly, deserves it. For this reason, they make their own list of films of everything seen, everything received and everything persecuted that they place in the official section. In their own way, they are the first critics. They are not a blind showcase where everyone puts up for sale what they want, but they are essentially a showcase with meaning, order and, in some cases, even taste. And why this obvious and unnecessary paragraph? Well precisely because ‘Inverse‘, from the Swedish director Isabella Eklöf.
By now you will know that there is a documentary by Josu Ternera at the San Sebastián Festival. And that’s it. It seems that the festival itself has ended up boycotting itself, consciously or unconsciously. Veal takes up everything. One day because it is being screened, another because the author of the interview with the former head of ETA speaks and a third because someone is upset with someone (with the documentary itself or with those who were upset with it). It is also true that the opposite reading is possible: to be seen in the face of the noisy apathy of almost all the media, there is no choice but to search for or generate the noise itself. Whoever does not shout does not appear in the photo and, hence, the imperative need of the competitions (no one is blameless) to alternate the meaningful program with the excessiveness as the only way to be heard in a deafening atmosphere. If you read it again, you might understand something. Or not.
The fact is that it arrivedInverse‘. Despite Veal. The film also bursts onto the screen, as the times demand, with a bang. Suddenly and without a sad credit, a father abuses his son and the camera, shamelessly, offers the scene in a way that is more than just explicit. Purely naked, raw. The director’s bet repels as much as it intrigues. Why so much brutality? From there, the film – which already presents itself as an absolute favorite to be at the top of a list of honors to which no one has dedicated a second yet – advances across the screen at a pace between strange and just sleepwalking, but always inwards.
It tells how the victim grows up, forms a family and lives condemned to deal with a trauma at least as endless as the desolate landscape of Greenland in which almost everything takes place. The disorientation of the protagonist, unable to live as a couple and completely alien to a world from which he was dispossessed since childhood, runs parallel to the viewer’s own loss. All ‘Inverse‘is made from a sensation close to absence, from an initial repulsion that The director doses throughout the film with pulse and a few drops of cruelty.
The protagonist (Emil Johnsen) flees from himself and in his flight gets lost. Kalak is what Greenlanders call outsiders and it comes to mean “dirty Greenlander.” It seems that the dirt surrounds everything in a clean wasteland of pure white. They also talk about that, about how civilization, in its most sophisticated and muddy sense, dirtyes almost everything; of how we’re all doomed to be’kalaks‘. And so on until the main character reunites with his father, now sick with cancer, and his eternal executioner. There is a monologue almost completed in the film by the father, by the aggressor, who in his brutality seems like a perfect mirror image of the scene at the beginning. The result is a sour, naked jewel and, by chance of the noisy and Veal times, unfairly hidden.