Stockholm @ Montreal World Film Festival

stockholmThe film Before Sunrise starred Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy and was a dialogue driven film that followed a couple falling in love over the course of one night.  Director Rodrigo Sorogoyen along with co-screenwriter Isabel Pena have used that framework, added in a twist and rendered an updated version of love relationships between young people.

Love when we are young is all-encompassing and never dull.  A twentysomething guy meets a like aged girl at a club.  There is enough of an attraction for them to spend the night together.  What you think is going to be your typical one night stand turns into something else when the sun comes up the next morning.

He (Javier Pereira) tells her (Aura Garrido) while they were at the club the night before that he fell in love with her at first sight.  She is doubtful of this.  As they spend a night walking through the beautiful city of Madrid they talk.  They talk about everything – their dreams, their beliefs, their thoughts, their desires, and even a few secrets are divulged.

Everything is going along swimmingly until a twist occurs and the evening becomes one rife with power struggles and mind games.  It is the war of the sexes and it is no holds barred.

Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s film is totally low budget.  Shot in thirteen days with a crew that was largely volunteer, it totally goes for that minimalist look.  Whether it was due to a lack of funds or just the vision of the director, it does work in this case.  Sorogoyen does not allow the lack of money/backing affect the quality of the film; it was one of the stronger pictures that I saw at the festival.

What the film does not scrimp on is the dialogue.  It is plentiful and razor sharp.  The way the two characters talk to each other goes a long way towards indicating to us how they get along.  Or more accurately how the under 30 crowd deal with romantic relationships.  When the male lead decides he wants something there isn’t anything he will not say or any screw he won’t try to turn in order to accomplish it. An interesting look at how you can force someone to do something they don’t want without getting physical with them.  It seems like he turns a blind eye to means because he feels anything is justified in order to get the ends he wants.  You see that there can be violence in a relationship without the overt laying on of hands.

What seemed like it was going to be your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy about halfway in changes dramatically into something with a lot more teeth to it.  Stockholm ends up being an anti-comedy romantic film with an interesting reading of modern day love relationships amongst the young.

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