De Ofrivilliga

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De Ofrivilliga (Involuntary), Cannes, Un Certain Regard

Swedish director Ruben Ostlund's "Involuntary" takes a look at a series of unconnected episodes involving people of assorted ages doing very little of interest. He employs a filming technique using a static camera aimed with no attempt to frame what's being observed so that individuals are half seen or simply offscreen. It is deeply off-putting.

Lacking coherence, dramatic structure and humor, the film is unlikely to be heard of again after its mystifying appearance at Cannes.

Clearly deliberate but appearing incompetent, the director's style dislocates what are in any case tiresome bits of behavior including a group of boisterous male drunks indulging in homo-erotic banter; a couple of frisky teenaged girls staying out late; a fussy teacher lecturing her colleagues on proper conduct; a group of people setting off fireworks at a birthday party; a schoolgirl being tested for comprehension; and a woman trying to remove a stain on her skirt in a moving vehicle. Why any of it is happening is anyone's guess.

There's also an incident in which somebody breaks a curtain rod in the toilet of a coach. Until somebody confesses, the driver declares, the bus is going nowhere. Just like the film.

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