Sunday, 6 November 2011

25th Leeds International Film Festival: FUERTEVENTURA

We meet Jesper, a young lone traveller, as he arrives from Sweden in the Canary Islands for a week of sun, sand, surfing, and sex. The first part of the film has plenty of all four, and from the start writer-director Mattias Sandtröm and writer-producer Ivica Zubak show their deftness for building a story in images, coolly and sleekly arranged.

But in the quiet moments, certain aspects of the soundtrack (the vibration of a swimming pool generator, the whir of a hotel fan) are foregrounded to great effect, peeling away at the façade of apparent normality to an unexplained psychological pain below. Some of the film's frames flicker too, and the sun flashes wildly, while the real or imagined barman (a character who might remind us of The Shining's wisdom-issuing bartender) and his enigmatic talk of dream and memory confuse Jesper (and us) more.

But Fuerteventura isn't trudgingly melancholic. Jesper meets Maite, the hotel housekeeper. She speaks no English (or Swedish) and he speaks no Spanish, and there are charming and touching scenes that follow, but from here too the film accelerates its study of confusion, miscommunication, and an attempt to decipher truth from dream ensues as, for Jesper, Maite strongly resembles someone back at home, and a tragedy that he left Sweden to forget.

Essential to the film, though never taking centre-stage, is its setting (although Fuerteventurawas actually filmed in on neighbouring island Gran Canaria). A pulsating and hedonistic resort by night, hazy, sparse and rocky dream-scape during the day, Fuerteventura is the dizzy place where an already confused Jesper must sift through dream and memory.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails