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Friday, 15 July 2016

Scandinavian Film Festival (4) - Barrie Pattison reviews the Swedish movie YARDEN

Yarden/The Yard (Måns Månsson, Sweden, 2016)  

Looks like my luck turned for the worse with the Scandi Film Fest and Måns Månsson's Yarden

Sonorous orchestral score and shrunken titles on a wave pattern announce that we are up for something serious here and soon we get glum Anders Mossling’s  modern day Josef K,  or is he meant to be Job, reading his poetry to a small, disinterested audience before he dumps the new edition down the rubbish chute and learns that he’s been offloaded for giving his own “shit book” an unfavourable review.

The sullen school boy son who complains that things were better when his mother was there keeps on making demands and isn’t even up to walking the family dog, which pees on the floor. When dad falls behind on the payments on the boy’s TV, the domestic situation deteriorates even further.

Mossling’s one pleasure is to go snorkelling with his fellow divers - patches of light under the dark water. His solution to this is to take an entry level job loading in a giant car yard where the woman clerk watches while he produces his urine sample and he turns out to be the only Swede in the immigrant labour force. Even there he’s made to change to a silver mini bus because he doesn’t fit in. His standing up to a swinish supervisor in the car wash earns the friendship of a co-worker who recruits him into assisting with the preparation of false IDs for foreigners.

However after arriving alone on the bus in the pre dawn to sign on he’s told he's fired and to turn in his work gear. Mossling’s solution is to rat out the worker stealing air bags to support his family, to the boss enjoying a luxury meal at a high rise restaurant. Security cam footage means Mossling has to sacrifice even the slight gain he has made in his personal regeneration. He must be the cinema's most spineless hero.

The oppressive atmosphere of the car shipping area is the film’s one asset - orange suits emerging from the white covered ranks of vehicles, workers microwaving their lunches, dark and wet surroundings. Former cameraman Månsson seems to be earnest about telling the audience somethingwithout wanting to make it clear what. The occasional striking image and the strained humor of humiliation aren't a sufficient compensation.

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