It has been two years since I wrote the last KVIFF report. The worldwide health crisis put stop to all mass events last year, so I am very happy, that the festival organizer made it happen this year in full parade.
I didn’t give much hope to it, because governments were still fear-mongering and are making ordinary life difficult with various covid restrictions.
Fortunately, thanks to vaccination and the possibility to hold events with thousands of participants in one public place, they managed to put together a full-fledged program as we know it. Including parallel movie projections across various theatres, a rich accompanying program with concerts and stages.
And also they somehow convinced few big movie celebrities to visit Karlovy Vary, namely Johnny Depp and Ethan Hawk. So kudos to them, even though they had to move the dates from the beginning of the July to end of August.
To make it happen, they enforced new covid restrictions, that any visitor had to comply with. First, everyone had to be tested or vaccinated to enter public festival areas.
Not a big deal. I went for a PCR test, which is valid for 7 full days. Downloaded results into the mobile app Tecka, a Czech kind of a covid pass.
Then I showed certified results to the festival staff, that stood at every corner, who then gave me a bracelet, that shows the test’s expiration date. Once I had a bracelet, I could freely enjoy the festival.
Of course, there were general restrictions that applies to every indoor public place in CZ like the necessity to wear protection during projection or keeping distance from each other. The reality was different as always, but I won’t go into detail. I don’t to hurt the festival.
Anyway, I won’t write about the reasons why I enjoy the festival so much or why you would like it as well if you are a movie junkie and love stories. You can read about it in my last report.
Usually, there is little to no chance to book a four-star hotel at the last minute, but this year was different. Tourism hasn’t fully recovered yet and the city is swamped with hundreds of hotels. And an average festival visitor is probably a poor student or carefree individual who prefers sleeping in a tent or an apartment over staying in a sterile hotel room. So demand was lower and hotels had to compete with more attractive prices.
To my surprise, I managed to snatch a two-night stay in a four-star hotel in Astoria near Thermal for a mere 1050 Kc per night. What a bargain if you include free breakfast and a room with a view over the colonnade.
I usually book a single bunk bed at student hostels, so I was amazed by the hotel’s service. How they treat you as kings and how every service is there for your pleasure. Want to take a swim in a hot tub? No problem, they have a swimming pool, sauna, and jacuzzi. Want to sit down In a quiet room, work on your laptop and sip delicious tea? No problem, there is a tea room with a wide variety of teas for free, including milk and honey.
Want to keep a keto diet and eat one meal per day? No problem, with included breakfast, you will have everything you need to keep yourself satiated. Breakfast in form of a buffet included scrambled eggs, sausages, fried bacon, fresh pastry, ham, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurts, granola, or other types of cereals. Don’t forget about jams, dried fruits, nuts, sweet cakes, and fruits.
Oh my god, I love four-star hotel breakfasts.
Let’s just say I almost have been able to keep the OMAD diet the whole time. If I eat breakfast at 8 am, 12 hours later I had minor cravings but nothing serious. Few peanuts saved the day.
The only downside of OMAD is that you have to ingest an incredible amount of calories in less than one hour and a half. In my case 2000 plus in one setting.
I arrived early in the morning on a rainy day. On the arrival, I was horrified to see a completely empty city. It might have been the day of the week, the time of the day or the weather, or a combination of it all. It is not something I was used to seeing in the past. Attending an empty festival would be a little sad, I told to myself.
Later through the day, I asked one of the hostesses, who tried to sell me the Festivals new app KVIFF.tv if it was empty the last few days. She comforted me by saying that the mornings are like that and there are plenty of visitors during the day.
That didn’t happen afternoon so I accepted the situation and found to enjoy empty Vary much more than a crowded one. Commuting between theatres took a fraction of time due to empty streets.
As always subjective feeling is sometimes miles away far from hard statistics, because later I found out, that there were about 5500 visitors on Monday. So they probably stayed in hotels, while recovering from hangovers.
Based on my years of experience with Kviff, my expectation for the program was low. So I was surprised to see few decently rated movies projected on Monday.
It proves again to better attend the second half of the festival because all movies should be rated at least once after the premiere during the first half of the festival. The con is, if the movie is too popular and you miss the chance to see it that day, there won’t be any other projections.
The first movie I saw was a Korean drama released in 2019. It got a sky-high rating and tickets were sold out, so I decided to wait in the queue for two hours prior.
Usually, one hour is a safe threshold for theatre B, but I didn’t have anything better to do. Check-in was in four hours and it was raining outside.
Being the first one in line, I got in with no issues. Once inside, I noticed they let in up to 15 more people. Others were out of luck.
It showed how strict they were with covid rules. This year, they would not allow anyone to sit on the floor. Once were all seats taken, it was a game over.
This also meant that you had to be among the first 20 at small theatres and the first 40 at the Grand Hall.
I bet next year people will wait even longer for sold-out projections.
The movie itself offered a colorful peek into the life of an unorthodox Korean family, that is actually not a true family at all. There is a grandma, who owns a tiny house living on a blackmailed money, her niece who has no idea she is considered missing by her parents, a middle-aged woman, and her partner in crime, who together shares a dark secret.
She works at a cloth cleaning factory. And He is a shoplifter, who kidnapped a little boy from his parents.
They both snatch groceries with a motto: “If the item is in a shop, then it does not have an owner yet”. So technically speaking, they are not thieves.
On the surface, they live like a family, talk like a family, and have a good time together like a family. The question is, is it enough though to live happily ever after? Can society accept them for who they are and are they ready to live within society?
In a series of unfortunate events and the death of a “family” member, we see that it is not possible to live like an outlaw happily ever after while disobeying norms and laws.
Children have to grow up with their biological parents or at least with government-approved foster parents. They have to go to school, they have to be brainwashed so they can one day become a civilized and obedient member of society.
Adults cannot do a good deed if it does not fit the law. Law does not care if you want to help others. Vigilantes have to be punished regardless.
It is then heartbreaking to see the family dissolved as each has to forcibly go their own way. But while they all have to pretend to be strangers, they feel a profound bond toward each other. And no one can ever take that connection away from them.
There are many biological, dysfunctional, and unhappy families, that would benefit from the lessons presented in the movie. The most obvious one is that being blood relatives is not enough to be called a family. It is the way how we treat each other that counts.
Strahinja (As Far as I Can Walk)
Based on the description, I didn’t find the second movie of the day attractive. The storyline revolves around refugees living in eastern Europe. But it was either this movie or a Czech documentary. So I didn’t hesitate and enter the waiting line right away.
I have to admit, that I was a little bit judgemental whenever I see headlines about refugees in the news. It is a topic that resonated three years ago. And to this day, it is still going strong thanks to the situation in Afghanistan. And as an ex-pat, I truly understand the need to go after a better life.
But I also believe, that coming to a foreign country as a guest comes with certain rules. It is very important to be accepted by foreign society, to blend in, to bring added value, otherwise as a foreign element, you ask for troubles and create resentment.
However, it is not 2000 B.C. when humans lived in groups and tribes. It is 2021 A.C. and we live in an era when socialists and humanists rule the world. And they are constantly making sure, that every human being is feeling safe, protected, and well taken care of. Regardless of the economical and social constraints.
The reality is never idealistic and there is always a loophole hidden in their good intentions. And once the loophole is discovered, you can bet that the majority will take advantage of it. Which then creates resentment.
And that is why this movie was created. To show you the other side of the coin. To show you the journey each of them has to go through to better their lives.
Fortunately, the movie does not push the sentiment too much and it doesn’t make you feel sorry for their faiths.
When I heard the director, who introduced the movie in person, describing it as an answer to the question: What if a refugee would become a national hero? I was concerned.
What a cliche I told to myself. Taking controversial topic and turn it into a classical fairy tale.
Thankfully this was not the case.
We are following a pair of refugees from Ghana. Economical refuges, not political ones. Who lives in a detention center in Serbia.
They already managed to cross Germany once, but they were caught and deported back. So this is their second tour.
Now they have to start from square one. And they were in process of getting a merit-based asylum. While the main hero is trying so hard to establish something good going on. His wife feels bored and disappointed with their current situation.
A classic romantic tragedy. Don’t you see? You have a good hard-working guy, who works his ass to provide her a better future. And you have a female hypergamy in action, always looking for a trade-up.
So while he manages to get into the local football team with the potential to be a local sports star, who has a regular paycheck and promise of a permanent residency.
She does nothing, just helping the local community here and there, doing theatre for children’s in a refugees camp, and dreaming about becoming a celebrity and going big in one of the rich western countries.
And for her, it takes tooo damn long. They are stuck in a camp and she is not happy. She wants more, so much more.
So one day, when new refugees arrive from Afghanistan, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel and ditches her beloved husband, without a word. Yes, she just ghosts.
Of course, the main hero feels confused and betrayed, but most importantly delusional. And he decides to go after her, hoping to recover his failing marriage, while risking everything he worked hard so far.
He pays for a ride to Hungarian borders, not knowing what kind of horrifying practices smugglers, who scam refugees in every way possible, prepared for him.
We see a poor family paying thousands of euros for a taxi ride thinking they will get to the border. No, the taxi driver will drop them tens of miles far away, so he won’t risk his ass with local police enforcements for a few bucks.
They have to continue on foot. No big deal.
Before crossing the border, they have to hire a smuggler, because he knows best which way to go. The only rule is not to bring a crying baby, otherwise, they have to return back or put others at risk of getting caught.
But, all struggles can be anticipated and they all did a calculated risk. So we should not feel sorry for them.
Back to our hero. He manages to catch up with her wife at one of the Hungarian refugee camps thinking she was kidnapped or dragged or something. So he is set to fight in the name of love for the last time.
But he does not know what we all know. Once a woman is half-heartedly thinking about leaving, she is gone forever, marriage or not. Kids or not.
In her words, she wants a better future. And running and mating with a political refugee increases her odds. She wants it all right damn now. Live in the west, and make it big as an actress. So she has to cut loose ends including her husband.
But the main hero is too stupid to move on. And it gets worse after she gives him a pityf**k as a last goodbye and a sorry for harmed feelings. Which only gives him false hope.
In a desperate move, he whistleblows her to the authorities, so she gets deported together with him back to Serbia. What a loser right?
Well, it does not end well and both end in tears. She for marrying such a clinging loser who ruins her future. And he for being so desperate and losing it all, both his once beloved wife and his promising football career at the local Serbian team.
The story realistically paints the sad truth about female hypergamy. Nothing lasts forever, people changes, and marriage is pointless nowadays. The government and society are encouraging and incentivizing women to divorce. It has never been easier to walk out with kids, alimony support, and half of your net worth.
So as you can see, the story is not the reason why the movie won the academic award. Not because it is about refugees, but because of the captivating camera angles and the main actor’s solid performance.
I really felt sorry for that guy. He really should have ditched her wife, become a football star, and marry again a young more slender Serbian football fan. He would live like a king happily ever after.
The third movie of the day had again a sky high-rating. So I decided to enter the queue two hours prior. Fortunately, I got lucky and was among the 30 people they let in for free. Grand hall was that full.
The movie is about a chef working in an up-and-coming restaurant, who has a really bad day. Technically, the movie is also special in many ways.
First, it was shot in one shot.
Yes, you heard me right. There are no editorial cuts, everything you see is a live performance.
How they did it? I don’t know.
Allegedly they recorded 5 trials and the fourth was the best. Imagine recording 8 hours of footage that gets scratched out.
They had to have a super detailed script describing every second. And I believe actors had to practice day and night to achieve such a realistic performance.
And of course, they had to utilize the restaurant areas to the fullest, using every corner or room to change the scene and let actors breathe.
The movie starts slowly with the main chef getting late for work. He is drunk and right off the bat, he has to put out fires.
The restaurant is overbooked, there are missing ingredients in the fridge and some employees did not arrive yet. To top the crown, his former business partner and a chef-celebrity came for dinner and brought the most feared food critic in the town with him to, in his words, “support our hero’s new venture”.
I won’t go further into detail, because you need to see the movie. It is totally worth it.
You will see why the restaurant business is hard work. It is a business everyone thinks they can do, but only a few will be truly profitable without cutting corners like avoiding taxes or cheating on ingredients.
What’s worse. You might end up exactly like this guy.
Despite having a top-tier chef and a good menu, the operational side of the business is what will eventually bite you in the ass.
There is a list of challenges, that any restaurant will face:
- Asshole Instagram celebrity customers, who are ignorant about the food and expect freebies, because they are famous
- Asshole customers, who treat staff like trash, because they are paying big bucks and expect everyone to treat them like kings
- Asshole employees, who slack at their jobs torpedoing others and ruining whole meal prep chain
- Incompetent manager, who is the manager because of the connections, and who is making troubles while blaming others
- Pedantic government officers, who are ruthless when it comes to correct temperature in the fridge and correct kitchen hygiene
- Newbie employees, who can mess up at every step if you are not careful. They should be micromanaged.
- Unstable procurement processes dependant on unreliable suppliers
- Pretentious food critics who can’t cook, but who know that your sauce is simple, ok-ish at 99%, but it is not quite there yet
- Your former business partners who became your competitors and who can tank your business on every occasion
- Allergic customers, who forget to mention their life-threatening allergies
- The on-place romance between your waitress and a bartender. They are more busy flirting than actually doing their job
- Debt capital, that you have to repay to keep the restaurant going
- Ambitious employees who ask for raises every six month
And the list goes on. After seeing the movie, I know for sure I won’t ever want to own a restaurant as my main business. I would have to be permanently on-site and oversee the staff. And I would have to deal with all the bullshit mentioned above.
I can although imagine owning a seaside cafeteria because I would chill in my cafeteria during the day and play as a DJ during the night. It is still one of my childhood dreams, that I keep alive.
When I saw Mulholland Drive on a program list, I didn’t hesitate and booked tickets right away.
I saw this movie multiple times, mostly during my childhood. And the only impression I got from watching it multiple times as a kid was that I totally don’t understand what it was about.
It was super scary with slow close shots and Hitchcock-like music and there were boob scenes.
Despite rewatching Lynch’s movie a decade later, I was still confused and my impressions have not changed. But at least I began to notice hidden crumbs in the storyline and their relations.
Then after I read one of the movie analyses, I was mindblown. Something clicked and It suddenly made total sense.
Now I understand why the director is called a genius and the movie became a cult.
I won’t spoil it anymore and just recommend watching it on your own. I enjoyed The Grand Hall remastered projection on the big screen very much and those three hours after midnight was well worth it.
The program on the second day was full of Czech documentaries and there was hardly any movie, that caught my eye. So I took this opportunity to slow down, relax, and enjoy a delicious breakfast, explore accompanying events, and, because it stopped raining, enjoy a clear sky and take short walks.
Today I got into almost all projections, that I wanted to see, so I was pretty satisfied with my movie choice. The only regret was not seeing Olga, an incredibly rated movie about a Ukrainian Olympic athlete, whose career is threatened by her mother’s political protests. As someone who does calisthenics and who visited Ukraine, I would love to see a movie with a gymnastic background.
Hytti nro 6 (Compartment Number 6)
The first movie of the day was also the most difficult to watch. We follow a Norwegian lesbian anthropologist, who solo travels across Russia to some remote digging site because there are some ancient stones and she wants to see them in person.
Initially, she planned to go with her much more successful, accomplished, bi-oriented, elitarian girlfriend. But the plan fell apart, when that girlfriend chose to spend her time with her family and kids instead, ditching her lesbian acquaintance.
Despite the rejection, she didn’t give up on her dream and booked a train ticket to Murmansk. After boarding the train, she meets her train companion, who shares the same compartment with her. An uneducated Russian guy, whose biggest aspiration is to work at a coal mine.
Seeing two completely bi-polar personalities with different intellectual levels, but the same social background, sharing a 3-meter square space for a week, creates countless funny moments, when two of them interact with each other.
She, of course, is not at all interested in talking with low-level losers, so the Russian guy has to make corny attempts to break her ice. First, by excessive vodka-drinking, smoking, and overeating, claiming his space in a tiny compartment and showing his true Russian inner self.
When he failed to make the first impression by being drunk, his sober other self saved the day by making fun of her.
She deflects his attempts, but not for long. During one of the overnight train stops, she tries to reach her girlfriend on the phone, but unsuccessfully. As she selfishly occupies a phone booth for hours. She is confronted by a random guy, who also wants to make a call. He accuses her of phone-faking and politely asks her to get the hell out of the booth.
Then our Russian hero, who appears out of nowhere, comes for the rescue. He pushes the guy away, which effectively saves her from embarrassment.
To capitalize on her gratefulness, he offers a ride with a stolen car to visit his old friend. She hesitates but has nothing more interesting to do.
His old friend then turns out to be his quick-witted mom. Seeing him as a good mommy boy lowers her barriers and all three of them have fun drinking vodka all night long.
Sadly, they won’t end up in bed together as you would expect. But the spark is on and it seems to be a start of a serious romantic relationship.
Will it last until the end of the train ride?
Unfortunately not. As soon as we watch them click, a mysterious handsome Norwegian passenger with a guitar appears on a train, trying to get in without a seat reservation. As kind-hearted as the main heroine is, she takes him under her wings and invites him to their compartment.
Which is a low blow move on her part. Russian guy is understandably betrayed with an unexpected cockblocking move and distances himself from her, so the two Norwegian lovebirds can be alone together.
For a while, She enjoys his singing skills and feel-good charm, but soon she realizes, that there is something missing. Maybe it is teasing and bantering she had with the Russian guy? There is just no fire.
This little episode ends shortly after he steals her camera and vanishes at one of the exit stations. As ridiculous as it seems, the Russian guy tries to cheer her up by becoming an emotional tampon and inviting her to a romantic dinner.
His plan fails because apparently, Russian trains don’t have chefs on board so they end up ordering a sandwich.
She sees this as an opportunity to establish a romantic connection with him and orders champagne to show him what he was missing by being a low-class loser. There is a rule that every woman will try to change, transform and shape their partners to match up with their ideals.
But he sees through her bullshit. She is not interested in real him, she just projects her intellectual role model on him, so he will fit her social bubble. Inevitably, he storms out and leaves the train the next morning.
Here, the story does not end yet, but it ends for me. The movie then continues further in a poetic fairy tale fashion.
She is unable to reach her final destination due to icebergs and wild waves, but her stubborn Russian prince, despite what happened, comes to her rescue once again. And thanks to a miracle and his heroism, he fulfills her wish.
It should have ended after she fails to make the final trip digging site.
The next movie promised an interesting deep dive into relationship struggles. According to the producer’s words, if you see yourself in the movie then “oops” if not then congratulation. And it is supposed to be inspired by their own lives.
The movie is divided into 12 parts, each covering a short episode of a traditional relationship. It all starts with an innocent bed talk about where this relationship goes.
While she is ventilating her biological clock concerns, he thinks about if it is worth it at all.
It cannot end differently than with a huge fight and make-up sex, because well, so far they got along well and they both don’t give a f*ck about the same things, so why the hell not.
Moving forward we see how this relationship progresses. She gets pregnant and gets crazy insecure about her body.
As I write this description I don’t even remember how the movie ended. There is actually no story to follow. Just a sequence of anecdotal scenes, that illustrate multiple relationship stages.
One thing that I have to bring up though is the production value. From the camera and picture quality to the expensive fx effects. None of which is common among indie films projected at movie festivals.
For example, the scene at the hospital, that illustrates her crazy imagination. She just gave birth and doesn’t want to leave the hospital, because it’s like a warzone outside.
How can you show something that is not real? You freeze everything in the scene except for the main actors. Like in matrix.
I wondered how they filmed such scenes. But this was not the first North European movie, that uses that technique, so there must be a new way how to film it on a budget.
If you know what technique they used, write in the comment below.
There is one more scene, that I have to highlight. An acting class, that is shot in one go.
In the class, the teacher lectures her students about how being an actor is like being naked in public. Because it is how celebrities feel like.
They are under constant pressure all the time. So unless you are comfortable with unsolicited attention from complete strangers, who judge your every move, then you’re not up for the job. That idea was so deep and truthful I had to increase my rating.
The Sparks Brothers
I don’t usually watch documents, but if I do, it is always about music artists. The most recent ones being about Amy Winehouse or Freddy Mercury.
Those are simply thrilling stories worth telling. The formula is simple. You follow a journey from zero to hero to death.
There is no such thing as an overnight success, so most artists start with tremendous dedication, mixed with some talent here and there. Then they get lucky a decade or two later after grinding and perfecting their craft every day.
Once they reach the top, they can finally enjoy a short period of success together with everything that comes with it. Fans, fame, drugs, money, and rock n roll. Those are rewards everyone wants but only a few will ever achieve.
Then most won’t keep up with their success and end in downfall. Either being forgotten or overdosed.
But this is not the case with Sparks. The most famous bro-band, that you probably never heard of.
Originally they were based in the US and although they rode the trend and played Beatles like music, they never succeeded in their home country.
Luckily their music spread all over the world thanks to radio DJs, who discovered their craft. Then it was a matter of time before they hit UK top ten hit list.
After they saw some traction, they beg their record label to send them to the UK to do a tour. Well, it paid off.
They finally reach success and all it took were years of practice, multiple albums, and countless band breakups.
But the story is not over. Beatles’ era didn’t last long and the craze over their music ended as well.
However they did not stale, they evolved. They closed themselves in the studio and produced multiple albums, each one having different sounds.
One of them was the first electronic album ever produced. Yes, Kraftwerks were not the first ones to come up with synthesized electronic music.
So as they experimented with different genres and repeatedly reshaped their craft, they also lose the old Beatles fanbase. You would expect they would fall into oblivion after all those years, but the opposite was true.
The experiments helped them to grow new fanbases all over the world. Like recently, they became a sensation in Latin American countries. They even have enough fans in Japan, to fill up a huge concert hall.
You might not see it, but this is a huge motivation for all creators, who feels stuck. Who is getting nowhere and wants to give at any moment.
Don’t give up, there will always be someone on this planet who will appreciate what you do. And we are so lucky to live in a modern era when anyone can share and broadcast their thoughts, skill, or art.
Use that opportunity to express yourselves and never give up.
You don’t know how many times I gave up in the past while doing something that did not get any traction. But As I learned from my ongoing journey, one year is not enough to judge if it will be worth it in the end.
Most people like me, who suffer from shiny object syndrome, will jump from one thing to another. We go after our passions and put 200% effort in the beginning, only to get burned out after the first or second month, give up, and never trying again.
This approach will never work. It is better to give 80% long term. And whenever you feel burnout, just take a pause and return back after few months.
Sparks also had few periods, when they spent 5+ years in the studio 24/7, while not concerting or making any money. They just believed in what they do and guess what. Six years passed by and their next album brought them back to the scene.
The document itself is very engaging. Both brothers are commenting on their journey while being confronted by their associates and former band members.
Whenever there was a story to tell, the director used cartoonish animation to make the point. It worked well and I was captivated the whole time. Their music helped to set the right mood as well.
Unfortunately, Sparks did not have a lot of scandals so there is no drama or sensation, that could spice the document up. To sum it up, I love these feel-good success stories with sympathetic protagonists, who can motivate you to be a better self.
On the last day, there were many interesting movies with colliding schedules projected later that day. And unfortunately, I had to leave Karlovy Vary before 7 pm. For a moment O regretted not booking one more night, so I can enjoy a delicious breakfast one more time and spend another evening in Karlovy Vary. Or I could even see Ethan Hawke and Johnny Depp in real life. But the weather sucked big time, so no regret after all.
The first movie of the day had above average rating and I had nothing better to do, so I headed to the cinema one hour and a half before projection. But being first in the queue got me thinking it won’t be that ratings might be biased by a few indie movies lovers.
The movie is about Georgian emigrants in the US, who lives their American dreams. The main character is an old man who has to travel to the US to save his son from gambling out everything they had including money, savings, house…
I have nothing against watching drama, but watching a drama about losers pisses me off. I get it, the best way how to produce raw, realistic indie movies is telling stories about drug addicts, gamblers, LGBTs, and other snowflakes, who have a hard time living in the current world because they feel they are not getting enough attention or are pampered enough.
I have seen the fate of those, who were lucky to have full support from their families, who took debt in order to send them to western countries, so they could start better lives and eventually help everyone back home.
And what did they do? They didn’t appreciate the chance they got.
They treated it as a holiday trip, paid for by their parents and relatives. Not thinking about consequences and the hard work everyone had put into it.
Instead, they partied, wasted time doing nothing, and skipped school. I had a similar case in my family, and despite them being my relatives, I just could not tolerate and accept their laziness and how threw off the chance of a lifetime like that.
Why I am talking about it? Well, because the movie portraits a similar example. A guy goes to America, where he gambles out family savings including their house in Georgia, and his dad has to put his line in line to save him from debt collectors while dying in the process.
If you are interested in wrestling and perhaps how Georgians live, how they sing, and how they treat each other, then you might enjoy the movie. But it was too depressing and boring for my taste.
Super long static camera shots, pointless silent parts, and the main characters’ stupidity made the whole experience painful.
Verdens verste menneske (Worst Person In The World)
The biggest surprise of this festival was a movie I skipped on the first day because of the horrible title and a cliche-sounding description. It sounded like every other romantic drama about love triangles, but the top of the top ratings proved me wrong.
Fortunately, there was a second projection on the day I was leaving and I wanted to make sure I get in, so I joined the queue one hour and a half before the start. I was very lucky because I was among the 10, that got in without a ticket. Yes, even Grand Hall can be sold out like that.
The prologue introduces us to the main heroine. She is an ambitious young lady spending all her free time studying medicine. She is the top of the class and knows what she wants.
However, she quickly changes her mind after her first autopsy class. Disgusted by the idea of dissecting the human flesh, she quits the school and drops out.
Girls like her don’t stale for long. She promptly makes up her mind and decides to become a psychiatrist.
But something is not right, dissecting human brains bores the hell out of her and she quits again soon after.
Then she gets an aha moment when she uploads her picture on Instagram and notices her talent. Could this be her dream job? Maybe, or maybe not.
Anyway, she takes the risk and begs her mother one last time for tuition money so she can become a master of photography.
The new hobby leads her to interesting places where she meets new exciting acquaintances. And as an upcoming photographer, she sleeps with the first male model she meets, because why not.
Her bad-boy tattooed toy won’t last long though. She ditches him the moment she meets her intellectual counterpart at the bar. Much more mature underground comics artist, who understands her perverse second nature.
They click on the spot and after a one-night stand, he drops the bomb during the post-hookup talk. He is ten years older, vulnerable after many failed relationships, and wants to settle with someone long-term.
She doesn’t take him seriously, but he begs her to stay. Because she is young and carefree she agrees to become an official couple.
So their relationship smoothly transitions into a honeymoon period. They stay in bed all day long and they cannot get enough of each other.
Sound familiar? Hell yes, I love carefree honeymoon periods, when the only thing that matters is sex, food, and having a great time. But everything great has to come to an end eventually and too much sex will get old too, sadly.
Their harmonic relationship gets its first test during a weekend retreat with his mature friend couples and their kids. Suddenly she is confronted with what might comes in the future. Taking responsibility, having kids, and getting old and grumpy.
They start a huge fight but realize it’s stupid and agree on the status quo. Nevertheless, pandora’s box is now open. Is she ready to settle? Probably not. Is he the right one though? Probably yes.
Moving fast forward. She is still working as a low salaried shopping assistant in a bookstore, trying to fund her photography hobby, while he becomes a national sensation after his underground comics hits the mainstream.
The sudden success transforms his life to the next level. He has to organize exhibitions, promote his comics and take interviews. In short, he enjoys the life of a celebrity.
During one of his exhibitions, her feeling of being stuck and forgotten reaches its peak. This is not the life she imagined.
It is hard to cheer for her partner’s success when she is not his equal. She is not that kind of caring supportive person.
However, her life is about to change soon. She leaves the exhibition early and decides to take a walk home alone.
On her way home, she comes across a wedding down the street. And because she looks chic in her classy dress, and her wild younger herself calls for some excitement, she snuck into the wedding pretending to be a guest.
It works flawlessly, and she blends in like a natural. The night is officially on.
She enjoys the drinks, food, random conversations with strangers, and she dances like there is no tomorrow. Her sexy moves immediately catch the groom’s best friend’s attention, who also feels being out of place in some way.
They somehow get into the conversation and the rest is history.
You know the moment when you meet someone, you know it is never meant to be, you will never see her again, but there is a hell of an attraction? This was it.
So to avoid any hard feelings later on, you role-play. You use fake names and you never reveal any pieces of personal information, that might identify who you are or where you work.
Total anonymity will grant you the freedom to reveal all your secrets. You can be yourself. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else. You can share your deepest secrets without being judged because there is no future and you both live in the moment.
It happened to me many times over and over and it brought me many fond memories. Like this one time in Paris on top of the Eiffel Tower, I see this cute girl standing in the queue in front of me.
I tap on her shoulder and asks her if she found her flag on the ceiling. She nodded. I make a joke and invites her for a drink. She agrees so I take her hand and the rest is history.
Back to the movie. They both have the time of their lives dancing, smoking, and playing truth or lie. There she reveals her darkest secret, that she loves to initiate sex when it is soft because once she gets it up, she feels empowered and in control.
I had few girls in the past who loved that idea and they were indeed manipulating over-controlling gals.
Anyway night is coming to an end and they say goodbye knowing they will never meet each other again. They both feel huge loss due to immersive attraction but also relieved because, both are in a relationship and anything more than kissing is considered cheating, and they don’t want that.
She goes back to her boring life, not feeling any guilt, only excitement.
Btw, you will know precisely when your girl is flirting with someone else. She gets excited whenever she goes out by herself and she dresses more nicely than usual.
All is good until fate strikes once again. What are the odds in real life, that this guy visits a bookstore, where she works, with his girlfriend? Exactly zero. But this is a movie so be it can happen any day.
She notices him in advance and tries to avoid a confrontation, but stumbles to fight against her excitement. This leads to an awkward situation when all but his girlfriend knows what is going on.
It could end right there right now, without saying a word. But he would be too stupid to let the chance of finally nailing her slide away, so they secretly exchange contacts. You know, if any of them changed their minds and wanted to pursue this flirt.
And it doesn’t take long for her to get bored to death living with a hard-working comics genius, who neglects her presence because he is so immersed in his art.
What would be better than leave her boyfriend for a moment and check her secret romantic interest right?
To portrait her fling, the movie uses one of the most cinematic storytelling techniques ever, a freeze-frame, to show, how she spent a romantic date with him.
Imagine if the whole world froze. Except for you and the girl. This is exactly what would you feel. You live in the moment. It is just you and her, now. Nothing else matters.
She comes back home, emotionally overwhelmed and she now knows what she wants next. To ditch his boyfriends ass.
Breakup is tough and it always ends with tears and makeup sex. As desperate chump as he is, he begs her to stay once again.
But this time, it won’t work. It is over. Once the girl finds a proper replacement, she is gone forever.
So they go separate ways.
Everything goes well and she enjoys the honeymoon period with her new younger, similarly carefree boyfriend, who just lives in the moment like her.
The next 20 minutes of the movie is not that interesting. Her new relationship goes through the same hoops as the previous one.
There is also a side story, that deals with her father’s issues. He left her and her mother when she was young and he now has a new family and a daughter, who is better than her in every way.
Do you see the pattern? All comes back to daddy issues.
Anyway, after the end of the honeymoon period, she comes to her senses and has to end the relationship. Why? Because she lacks everything her previous relationship had.
This guy is not ambitious. He works at Starbucks for god’s sake. Only lives at the moment, does not plan for the future, and having a good time is the mantra of the day. Sound familiar?
The resentment from dating an ambition-lacking loser is worse than being alone.
I will stop here because all good has been told. The movie continues in a downward dramatic spiral that is not worth mentioning. Sad to say, she never finds her happiness and ends up alone.
Is this the reflection of the current young generation of singles and mingles? Yes, it is. Today’s generation doesn’t know what they want, and they never stop until they get too old.
It is so much easier to ditch current relationships after the first hiccup, fire up tinder and find another love interest. At least for girls until a certain age.
No one is willing to fight for the relationship, because it is work, hard work to keep it long term. And most don’t know, what they miss until they lose it. I know it best, I was that person.
Family values? Get outta here. Being selfish and enjoying high living standards is better than living in compromises until it isn’t.
If you are like the main actress and this movie does not open your eyes, then you are doomed.