Saturday, 15 September 2012

All That Matters Is Past (2012) @ Uskyld

WOODS RAPE NORWEGIAN SEX rape forest dirt dogging
Full frontals, baby crownings, rotting corpses and jilted lovers.
All that matters is present!

At a glance:
Well whaddya know. It's my first stab at the Toronto International Film Festival and I've picked out a shocker from the leftover schedule. Sara Johnsen's Uskyld (literal: "innocence") is a rather engrossin Norwegian crime drama that cuts close to fart house fare like Lars von Trier's Antichrist (2009) but she masterfully keeps it accessible by framin it as a dodgy love triangle set in the woods. TIFF programmer Steve Gravestock sells it as "part Cain-and-Abel story, part Rousseau-influenced meditation on innocents destroyed by a corrupted society", about childhood sweethearts William (Kristoffer Joner) and Janne (Maria Bonnevie) who are suddenly reunited as adults and inextricably thrust into an idyllic life of peculiar, self-imposed isolation. The past unravels and you can blame it all on William's damaged pervo brother, Ruud (David Dencik). This isn't the horror rehash of Bergman's Summer With Monika (1953) that I thought it was from the trailer. We're taken well into the obscenest ends of R-rated territory, so prepare to squirm in your seats as several cinephiles lacking the requisite intestinal fortitude for it have left the theatre presumably in disgust, as reported by Toronto Film Scene's Jovana Jankovic.
Bad news on the doorstep:
USKYLD 2012 TIFF Toronto dogging in the dirty woods
"Do you feel as if we've been zapped into an Ingmar Bergman movie?"
SEX SCENE MARIA BONNEVIE naked USKYLD 2012 morning pill
Maria Bonnevie and Kristoffer Joner
go au naturel in the name of art.
Twitchfilm's Todd Brown didn't fancy it much, decryin its "unlikeable" characters, which he insists are "given no context whatsoever". Man has a point, so it's lucky for us that cinematographer John Andreas Andersen had plenty of filler footage - the proceedings are punctuated by hypnotic visuals of wildlife and whatnot (shot on both 16mm and 35mm). They've even got a couple of special effects done with help from the folks behind Troll Hunter (2010), I think. Anyway, I think what really nibbled at the tension in such a competent and layered film is the unfortunate choice of a non-linear narrative that went back and forth one time too many. Maria Heiskanen from Maria Larsson's Everlasting Moments (2008) provides the narrative voice as a policewoman tryin to piece together the chillin aftermath of what was supposed to be a grippin fable, only that her role contributes little towards the mystery. On the whole, I'd have liked several distractin elements omitted in favour of a tighter, more conventional coming-of-age caper.

ALL THAT MATTERS IS PASTPerennial wonderment:
I'd like to know for certain if I read too much into the prominent depiction of traditionally Satan-affiliated creatures in the film - goats, maggots, ravens to name a few.
Reminds me of:
ALL THAT MATTERS IS PAST NORWAY 2012A little bit of Womb (2010) with all these closeups of sex and nature. The night previous I was also watchin a movie about terrible secrets - Beautiful Kate (2009).
TIFF 2012 norway Sara Johnsen sex dirt forest bestialityI can't remember if I cried:
When I forgot that the Scotiabank Theatre doesn't do discount parkin on weekend nights and I ended up payin a score. That's more than the bleedin movie ticket!
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
I think perhaps it tried a little too hard but I won't begrudge it. I love the music score as well. Definitely diggin up Johnsen's previous works Kissed By Winter (2005) and Upperdog (2009), so here's hopin for more fun and FUBAR material from her in the near future. For a more polished and substantial review, check out's Nicholas Bell. Here's to hopin this will score a distributor soon and you lot will be able to find it on a DVD shelf between The Cement Garden (1993) and Dumplings (2004), if not at the cinemas proper.★★★
Bonus material:

L-R: Director & scribe Sara Johnsen,
actor Kristoffer Joner & cinematographer John Andreas Andersen.
Toronto International Film Festival 2012.
Photo credit: Norwegian Film Institute
Sara Johnsen & John Andreas Andersen build an embarrassment of rich visuals.