Magnus

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Empty

Onoma

Produced by Donus Films and Vitamin K Film

Un Certain Regard


It was a beautiful afternoon on the Riviera on Friday, but on the screen in the Salle Debussy a beautiful young man with haunted eyes just wanted to kill himself. He wasn't alone.

"Magnus," written and directed by a young woman named Kadri Kousaar, is the first film from Estonia to be included in the official selection at Cannes. It stars Kristjan Kasearu as the doomed youth and Mark Laisk as his gruesome father. The film paints such a glum portrait of life in the former Soviet state that it has been banned from distribution there. They could be on to something.

The title character is the doleful son of obnoxious parents who make a point of demonstrating they don't care for him, or his sister, one little bit. As a child, he had a lung problem but even though he's over that, he behaves as if he could die any day now. He gives himself little challenges to see which day it will be: "If I can do five squats, I won't die today."

Following a failed overdose, he goes to live with his gross pig of a father who shares his cocaine with him and takes him to a whorehouse where one of the hookers is his shrink, as you'd expect.

Magnus has a troubled sex life indicated by his seeking a blowjob from his sister and proposing oral sex to a woman he meets in hospital whose overdose was accidental. Mostly, he wanders about smoking and gazing at the sky with a puzzled expression to the sound of someone trying to murder a cello. When he phones his sister to tell her that today's the day he plans to die, she tells him to get on with it. Sensible girl.
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