Border (Gräns)

I don’t want to hurt anyone. Is it human to think that way?

Year Released : 2019

Director : Ali Abbasi

Cast : Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jörgen Thorsson, Ann Petrén and Sten Ljunggren

So you may have noticed a lack of reviews recently and there are a few reasons for this, one of them is sort of falling out of love with reviewing films. I still watch films as often as I can, but reviewing them is actually a bit of a slog. Add to that and that I have left my job as a supervisor in a cinema to pursue other interests, and the urge to write reviews wasn’t really there.

I have still been watching films for review, and do have a few lined up that I will probably write up at some point, but I knew it would take something quiet unique to get me started again, and that is certainly what has happened with the Swedish movie “Border”.

I write this section after seeing the film, which long term readers will know is very rare, but it is with good reason.

Plot 

Tina (Melander) has been teased throughout her entire life due to what she believes is a chromosome imbalance, but she excels at her job as a customs officer at the airport, being able to smell emotions such as guilt and shame. One day a person with the seemingly same chromosome issue comes through and she is immediately intrigued, especially when it turns out that he not only has a fully functioning vagina, but also a scar in the exact same position that she does.

Vore (Milonoff) moves into her spare room, but it is obvious that he is hiding something, andTina can’t help being obsessed with him. Vore’s behaviour continues to be odd, and whilst polite, he clearly has a dislike for humanity, and feeds on insects, something which whilst finding disgusting, Tina soon gets a liking for too.

Meanwhile, she has become involved in helping a case to capture child pornography traffickers, but this also proves to be another level in the relationship between her and Vore, especially when he reveals the truth about who Tina really is.

So, why did this get me back in the reviewing mood?

This is a film I first saw the trailer for some time ago, and yet I never imagined that it would get a cinema release. To be fair, I suspect the only reason it has is simply because it was Sweden’s failed entry to the Academy Awards.

It is hard to really put into words just how bizarre this film is. Whether it be the feral nature of Tina at times, Vore’s general lack of likeability, the child pornography subplot, or the relationship between the two leads, it all adds up to something that is truly unusual and unique.

Make no mistake, one of the reasons that I love some foreign language films is their complete originality. I’ve never seen another film anything like this. Much like the Danish movie “Men and Chicken” a few years ago, this will take you by surprise on many occasions, and just when you think that you’ve seen the biggest oddity that it has to offer, along comes a living fetus in a fridge. Yep.

Then we get onto what is quite possibly the most unusual sex scene in the entire movie. I can’t really go too far into it because it would spoil the revelation that the second half of the film is built upon, but believe me when I say that I sat there with a shocked expression on my face, and it takes a lot to surprise me. It doesn’t last long, but will linger in the memory.

 

Summary

I’m giving this the approved stamp because of how unique it is, combined with the pure amount of oddities that will stick with me for some time. Just when you think you’ve seen something unusual, along comes something else just as equally out-of-left-field. It is an experience unlike anything I’ve had at the cinema in quite some time.

This is a movie that, whilst not great, will be one of those that you won’t forget in a hurry, but in a generally good way.

Give it a chance.

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