Price of Staying Together

in 20th Stockholm International Film Festival

by Dejan Petrovic

The 20th Stockholm Film Festival presented a surprisingly good and carefully selected program which included some very precious and outstanding movies. Scandinavia is generally considered one of the best places on earth to live in because of it’s strong economy, equality of the sexes and a highly efficient state organization. . In the best tradition of scandinavian drama, this is the framework for a portait of a personal and familial breakdown in Together (Sammen) by first time Norvegian director Matias Armand Jordal. As in the recent Danish film Fear Me Not (Den du frygter) we meet a familly of three (Roger, Christina and son Paul) and their happy never-worry existence, but soon after Christina dies in a traffic accident – a horrifying and absurd scen – which signals the ending of a perfect life for her husband and twelve years old son and the beginning of their suffering and pain. Jordal knows how to show the moment of breakdown, after which things are changing in such a dramatic speed, that the spectators hardly manage to follow all the contrasts between the previous and the upcoming reality. Roger is completelly destroyed by his loss, which is much deeper than he could expect. It is a real paradox indeed that little Paul, a boy with difficulties in reading and a big fan of the famous Manchester United football club and it’s Norvegian legendary player Ole Gunnar Solkskjaer, appears to be much more mature than his father! Roger fails to find his proper place in his new life, heads towards the nirvana of self-destruction  and leaves the boy in the care of a local social centre. After a series of infantile incidents and stupid fights, he will find himself struggling for life in a hospital, imitating Bruce Lee –  still  refusing to accept any responsibility for his destiny and that of his son’s. However, driven by a stubborn determination, Paul will finally manage to  reveal deeply burried emotions inside Roger. He escapes from the hospital and together with the boy goes to Christina’s grave where they find some solace and hope and a common future. In spite of the little bit predictable and pathetic ending, it is a very good and significant piece of work, with some typical signature of scandinavian cinematography.

Edited by Yael Shuv