There’s nothing like a natural disaster to bring a family together…or to drive them further apart. In Force Majeure, the darkly comedic film from Ruben Östlund, a Swedish family faces an avalanche during a skiing holiday in the French Alps. While mother Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) attempts to protect her children, father Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnk) runs for his life. When disaster is averted, the family’s dynamic is nonetheless changed forever as Tomas attempts to re-establish his position as the patriarch in the face of his apparent cowardice.
Force Majeure competed at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize. With the first U.S. trailer coming today, we in America finally get to see what all the fuss is about. The film certainly looks like an exciting, bizarre comedy as only the Scandinavians can make. The mountain photography is forbidding and gorgeous in equal measure, with broad expanses of white snow dotted with human figures. Within a few scenes, the trailer impresses on the viewer a sense of isolation, while the mountain hotel where the family stays establishes opulence in the midst of the powdery white. Although it’s always difficult to decide on a film based solely on the trailer, Force Majeure gives the impression of dark, dangerous humor and disturbing drama.
One of the great pleasures of festival season is getting to see trailers like this, if only to recognize that there are many new and interesting dramas being produced outside the Hollywood mainstream. Force Majeure might never come to many small theaters or big multiplexes, but we will all have the opportunity to see it eventually. That in itself gives me hope for the future of cinema.
Force Majeure will open on October 24. You can watch the latest trailer below and see what you think.