''A collection of films that paint with light, colors, and camera movement. No order. Some of these films may…
The Bothersome Man
Forty-year-old Andreas arrives in a strange city with no memory of how he got there. He is presented with a job, an apartment - even a wife. But before long, Andreas notices that something is wrong. Andreas makes an attempt to escape the city, but he discovers there's no way out. Andreas meets Hugo, who has found a crack in a wall in his cellar. Beautiful music streams out from the crack. Maybe it leads to "the other side"? A new plan for escape is hatched.
I love dystopian films. I love them even more when I don't know that they are going to be dystopian films.
With something of a nod and a wink towards the likes of Brazil and even Nothing Lasts Forever, The Bothersome Man is a Norwegian blackly comic fantasy about a man who is taken to a mysterious town and doesn't quite understand the bland yet happy and strangely unaware existence that the townsfolk lead.
This is a world that seems to be strangely lacking in colour from the moment he is dropped outside the town, at a strangely isolated petrol station, by…
A quite wonderful discovery thanks to an unplanned detour to my local library. The Bothersome Man is a satire of modern consumerism and obsession with appearances, a surreal comedy and utopia gone wrong, a fable about daring to be different, an original tale of what may even be the afterlife yet still manages to recall Jeunet et Caro, Gilliam, Andersson and Wenders, even more specifically at times I was thinking of The Truman Show, The Matrix and Wristcutters. Beautifully framed using an unassuming palette of greys and blues and filled with wonderfully strange moments that more often than not will have you laughing out loud, I can't think why I'd never heard of this one before.
A kind of Orwellian nightmare for the IKEA set, an existential scream (or quiet yelp) against a superficially ‘perfect’ existence. I loved this, the dry Norwegian black humour (and creepy vein of surrealism) suiting my taste down to a tee. It also helps that the film is gorgeously shot and designed, with the sleek, spotless city photographed (ironically?) in loving detail – reminiscent of ‘The Truman Show’ in that sense. In the lead, Trond Fausa Aurvag has the same bemused look throughout, but his one-note performance gives the film its humour, as he quietly rallies against the vacuous paradise he is seemingly forced into. There is perhaps little to analyse here (individualism is good!), but as a quirky-dark comedy-horror I enjoyed it immensely.
The easiest comparison to The Bothersome Man I can make is Fight Club without Tyler Durden and a dash of Being John Malkovich thrown in for good measure. Nowhere near as pervasively cynical as those two films, Norway's The Bothersome Man also benefits from a protagonist (Andreas, played by an impressive Trond Fausa Aurvåg) who is actually sympathetic for a majority of the film, if the story does drag him into sad-sackitude just a little too often. As a satire on the mundanity of everyday life, it can get very heavy-handed, but the dashes of fantasy keep it from being overwhelmingly morose. I thought the opening scene was a very clever use of misdirection, and while making everything after its…
In the world of The Bothersome Man, everything is done dutifully. Working, eating, having sex, loving, everything has an emotionless neatness to it. Our hero, however, doesn't fit in. He remembers things from a previous existence from another world, another life. He does not know how he got where he is, nor does he seem to remember why he is there. Or why he doesn't seem to be able to die for that matter.
This weird universe we are shown works as a wonderfully sharp satire on our everyday preoccupations. The people that inhabit Andreas' hell only concern themselves with material needs and are robot like in their emotions. What really works in this film is that we get some…
In a satirical look at a world cleansed of passion Jens Lien provides us with a stark reminder that the world in which we live, filled with disagreements, hate, violence and pain is also the only world in which we can excercise our free will to love, cherish, and be happy. We see the 'utopian' society in which everyone gets along through the eyes of Andreas, who arrives in this world for an unknown reason. He is provided with the most basic and inoffensive necessities: shelter, a job, money, tasteless food, alcohol that doesn't get you drunk, acquaintances who have mundane dinner parties, permanently 'good' weather, a quiet monochrome landscape and more important, a world free of degeneration.
Norwegian mix of Being John Malkovich and The Truman Show.
A surreal treatise on nonconformism. Very dense and exhausting, even though it hasn't been more than a month since I've seen it, I'd have to rewatch it to offer an insightful review. What I can comment on is the script, which was simply amazing. One of my favourite Norse films.
A very well crafted allegory – obscure, Kafkaesque, and compelling. An accountant named Andreas arrives in a city void of deep emotion. Food is tasteless. Alcohol has no affect. Sex is mechanical. But he has a good job, a girlfriend, a mistress, and no health or money concerns. He is well treated by his company. Essentially, all the basics are taken care of and life is “happy” for the majority of residents. But Andreas wants more. What price is he willing to pay to feel again?
Director Jens Lien won a ton of awards for this Norwegian-language film about the tradeoff between freedom and security, comfort and passion, including Norway’s version of the oscars for Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Sceenplay, as well as prizes from the Athens Int’l Film Festival and the Hamptons annual movie fest. Yes, it really is that good. The subtitles do not distract at all. The ending will make you think, too. Imagine that.
Why Scandanavia isn't as happy a place as those polls might make it seem.
This film really hammers home the fact that, at their core, people want to be much more than "happy." Loss, regret, jealousy and pain are all necessary parts of a meaningful human relationship, and a town without them is no place worth living at all.
Slightly underdeveloped but enthralling nonetheless, this amusing goof plays like an episode of the Twilight Zone with a distinctly Scandinavian sense of humor. In other words, dry dry dry and blessed with a touch of the absurd, imagining utopia, at least from one point of view, as something rivaling the sterility of Tati's Playtime. For those whose idea of fun consists of pondering solutions to modern living, a cyclical pattern of home remodeling, and endless dinner parties, the clean lines of this scrubbed dull metropolis are undoubtedly their everything. But for those like Andreas (Trond Fausa Aurvåg), who finds himself deposited in these banal surroundings without explanation nor memory of where he came from, it's a perplexing situation that only…
Mysterious newcomer starts a new life in what seems to be the perfect town - until it becomes clear sentiments (and even odors and flavors) are dimmed down. Eerie, visually elegant kafkian fantasy about loneliness (and about the social push towards conformism) shuns away from an openly nightmarish atmosphere and opts for a detached and subtly ironic approach instead - including a couple of unexpected gory moments.
In a dystopian society , heaven or hell (depending the way you look at it) seems like a page out of an IKEA catalogue. A new visitor is here to question all that, or at least try to.
This film might remind you of so many others you have seen before , yet bears clear resemblance to none.
I enjoyed its surrealistic approach, its aesthetic and its bittersweet and sometimes funny approach.
I did find the symbolisms a bit over-simplistic though,
The Bothersome Man is an original film that does make a statement, a beautiful statement yet not a very original or profound one.
what the... hell?
A quirky and unique film. I thought I understood exactly where it was going and then I didn't. Not a bad thing actually, really enjoyed it and the commentary on a life aimlessly led.
- The Double Life of Veronique
- Days of Heaven
- Io Island
- Pinchcliffe Grand Prix
- Oslo, August 31st
- Troubled Water
So, fellow letterboxders... please add suggestions! :-)
It's worth mentioning perhaps, that not all of these are to be considered…
- A Clockwork Orange
- Blade Runner
- THX 1138
A running list of dystopian films. Specifically near and far-future dystopias (as opposed to non-fiction present day or historical-dystopias).