Saturday, 29 September 2007

The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (USA, 2005)

Director: George Bamber.
Principal cast: Daniel Letterle, Diego Serrano, Shanola Hampton, David Monahan.

„The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green” is a gay romantic comedy based on the comic strips of the same name by Eric Orner who is also one of the film’s two scriptwriters. It is also George Bamber’s first accomplishment as director after having worked on more than 20 films as assistant director including such blockbusters as „Men in Black II” and „Jeepers Creepers”. And let me put it this way from the very beginning– he never had any ambitions of joining the likes of Derek Jarman or Eytan Fox with this well-acted and light situation comedy.

As the film’s title suggests, the plot evolves around Ethan Green and his not so fabulous social life. And social life it is as we never actually see him go to work or do any other "meaningful" things that are usually required in any society. However, it doesn’t seem too much out of place as nobody else really seems to be doing any work in this comic universe (even the people who are supposed to be working, like Sunny Deal, a real estate agent charged with the job of selling Ethan’s house). All the characters we come across are pretty much concerned with one thing only - their social lives. In the opening scene we see Ethan reading a book titled „Finding a Boyfriend Within” in a park only to be struck by a ball in the head seconds later. The perpetrator rushes to Ethan’s help and next thing we know is that Ethan’s got a new boyfriend, Kyle. Having a boyfriend as opposed to being married to a woman might be a novelty to the latter, but it’s definitely old news for our hero Ethan. For he has had many of the kind. It doesn’t take long before we’re introduced to two of them: the book store clerk Leo with whom he initially had moved together after their only third date and the camp Latino twink Juarez who for the past 5 years has been living with Ethan’s mother (an unexpected reunion with Meredith Baxter aka the mom from „The Family Ties”). Add to this lot Charlotte, his lesbian housemate, Chester, a gay Republican who is now dating Leo, the two cross-dressing Hat Sisters (played by such unlikely cast as Richard Riehle and Joel Brooks) and a sexually hyperactive twink called Punch, and I think you’ll get the picture. The film’s main theme is what our hero’s mom calls „the Ethan reflex” – his inability to commit himself, his constant search for the „dream date”, a concept which, as we are told through his flashbacks, has haunted him since his childhood’s slumber parties with some pretty mean girls. In his mind he is still playing that game with the purpose of proving to them that he isn’t the loser they wanted him to be. The film’s quite eventful plot takes him on a bumpy ride with the single purpose of showing him that the only way to win the game is to stop playing it.

There is nothing particularly novel in this film. In many ways this is a standard American comedy which is both reminiscent of something like the TV series „Scrubs” with its own main character’s „mostly unfabulous social life” and the numerous romantic (mostly teen-oriented) comedies that have come out of the USA lately. They bear much resemblance both in style and visual execution. What mostly sets this film apart from the others is that it’s about gay relationships. And although many people will find this film a bit too shallow and not entirely realistic, they should also remember that romantic comedies are rarely anything but. The film does contain quite a few gay clichés and most characters will seem over the top, but there is never smoke without a fire and you can hardly expect a film which is based on comic strips to portray average folk with average personalities. Nor does this film deal with the issues of coming out, being accepted by friends and family, having to fight against discrimination or anything like that. And thank God for that! The universe in „The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green” is a gay normality where its characters don’t fall victims to hate crimes or commit suicide, don’t have to struggle to come out to their parents or workmates. They simply live their gay lives dealing with their relationship problems in a world where their sexuality isn’t suppressed by heteronormativity. In that respect, it’s a relief that not all gay-themed films have to be Greek tragedies and a good omen that a former star of one of the most popular American TV sitcoms about „family values” here plays a mother who isn’t just accepting her son’s sexuality but also tries to help him with his relationship problems. It’s also a cheerful comedy which made me smile with recognition, laugh at the jokes and get a tear in my eye in the end. This film clearly targets a gay audience and can be at times difficult to fully appreciate for a non-gay audience, but I think it will make an enjoyable and light-hearted viewing for most non-homophobic audiences.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

10 minuta (10 Minutes, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2002)

Here you can watch Ahmed Imamovic's short film "10 minuta" which won him the Best European Short Film Award in 2002. If you want to know more about his latest film, please read my review of "Go West".

Ha Buah (The Bubble, Israel, 2006)

Director: Eytan Fox.

Principal cast: Ohad Knoller, Yousef Sweid, Daniela Virtzer, Alon Friedman.

Since the advent of story-telling, people of all nationalities have been fascinated and easily touched by accounts of unhappy love. Even more fascinating have always been the tales of impossible love, love that cannot be. The Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox’ latest film „The Bubble” is about that. And then it is also not. The title of the film refers to the „bubble” that is Tel-Aviv set against the background of the political realities of Israel. The country’s cosmopolitan and unofficial capital city doesn’t have much in common with Nablus, a city in the Palestinian West Bank which also features in the film. It doesn’t have much in common with the tense and hateful atmosphere at the Palestinian checkpoints. Actually, it doesn’t seem to have much in common with anything surrounding it. The „bubble” of Tel-Aviv allows people to have a lifestyle which isn’t much different from what you may expect in any Western city. Teenage girls looking for Britney Spears’ records, a lifestyle magazine editor looking for a sexy cover for his next issue, trendy people sitting in trendy cafes discussing trendy things over cups of cappuccino and other similarly trendy drinks, while those at home are watching the local edition of Pop Idol. It is this „bubble” that also has the potential to lull one’s mind into a false sense of reality.

The film evolves around the lives of three young Israelis who share a flat and, for the most part, try to stay out of politics. Yelli, the camp owner and manager of „Orna & Ella”, a hip cafe, rarely leaves the city and prefers not to think about the „crap that surrounds them”. Noam, a soft and easygoing employee of a slightly avantguard record store, seems to be equally unwilling to engage in long political discussions and contemplations. Lulu, the only female of the lot, is on the contrary linked to the Israeli Left, although her political activities seem to be confined to „raves against the occupation”. Yelli and Noam naturally don’t object to participating in these. Lulu and her political friends make t-shirts with the rave’s logo, put up posters and hand out booklets advertising it in the neighbourhood. Their main concern seems to be that there are never any actual Palestinians participating and that the police might come and spoil all the fun for them again. The closest they come to an actual confrontation is when they get into a scuffle with some not so Palestinian-friendly locals who try to prevent them from handing out the leaflets. In other words, predictable products of the „bubble”.

The opening scenes of the film take us to a checkpoint on a road to Nablus where we also find Noam doing his reserve duty. A group of Palestinians is being thoroughly checked before entering Israel, among them a pregnant woman who suddenly goes into labour and gives birth to a stillborn child despite the best efforts from Noam and the doctor who eventually arrives in an ambulance. The woman is comforted by a young man who later turns up on Noam’s doorstep in Tel-Aviv with his ID which the latter obviously dropped during the ordeal on the border. His name is Ashraf, he’s Palestinian and he’s gay. And he hasn’t just come to hand back the ID, he has come to see Noam. Without a permit to live in Israel and despite the initial hesitation from Noam's flatmates he stays. He soon gets a Jewish name and a job at Yelli’s cafe. Having grown up in Jerusalem with Hebrew, he doesn’t have an Arabic accent which makes it possible for him and his newly found friends to conceal his identity. The sky is light blue and the air is sweet. But it cannot last. For he has become part of an equation which was never meant to be.

At one point, Noam and Ashraf watch a play called Bent about two prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp who have a love relationship which can never become physical or visible to the surrounding guards. They find a way of being together on another level, a metaphysical one, a level where no one else has access. This is also where our couple arrives in the end. And it couldn’t have been much different for them, not in today's Israel.

„The Bubble” is a political statement about the bubble that bursts when confronted with the political realities of today’s Israel set against the background of a beautiful and awkward love story involving an Israeli and a Palestinian, the impossible love story in a divided world where no such things as compromise or other colours than black and white exist. „The Bubble” is also a beautiful film about people, gay and straight, inhabiting that strange city, Tel-Aviv, shown through the eyes of people who really care about them. The film's premise may have its flaws and the fatal chain of events may seem somewhat construed, but its strong message and emotional impact will not leave you untouched.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Go West (Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2005)

Director: Ahmed Imamovic.

Principal cast: Mario Drmać, Tarik Filipović, Rade Šerbedžija, Mirjana Karanović.

The war in Bosnia which took place between 1992 and 1995 was a grim affair. Its effects will linger on for generations and its heritage will haunt not only the Bosnians themselves but also the rest of the civilised world for many years to come. Some issues will only be dealt with properly when the biggest wounds have healed. As you can see in Germany, it has taken the country 60 years to produce „Der Untergang” (The Downfall, 2004) which offers a nuanced portrait of Adolf Hitler as a person and „Mein Führer - Die wirklich wahrste Wahrheit über Adolf Hitler” (Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler, 2007) which is in fact a comedy. Since the end of the war, there have been made several films in Bosnia & Herzegovina dealing with the issue. Actually, most of the films recently produced in Bosnia & Herzegovina have been related to the war in one way or another. “No Man’s Land” even won an Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film in 2002. In many ways, Bosnian films dealing with the war and subsequently post-war traumas are expected, and hardly anyone would have batted an eyelid in connection with another film dealing with these issues, if it wasn’t for the fact that "Go West" evolves around a gay couple.

The film director Ahmed Imamovic became known internationally as a result of his graduation project from the Bosnian Film Academy, a 10 minute long film appropriately called “10 Minutes” which almost immediately won him the Best European Short Film Award in 2002 (see a separate blog entry for this film). I believe, this partly explains why he got the green light to go ahead with his first full length feature project “Go West” despite the controversial choice of main characters. And the choice indeed proved to be just that – controversial. Long time before the film was even completed, Ahmed Imamovic received death threats from upset Muslim fundamentalists. Commentators found it obscene that a film about such a great tragedy as the Bosnian war would involve portrayal of “sexual perverts” and argued that its "sacrilegious" premise would disgrace the whole Bosnian nation. However, the indignation mostly vanished after the film was released and shown in cinemas all across Bosnia & Herzegovina. The main message of the film is about humanity and the tragedy of war and it has seemingly also been received as such by the general Bosnian audience.

The war takes its toll on all people involved in it, willingly or otherwise, not just the righteous martyrs and war-mongering scoundrels as some wish to present it. Furthermore, some of the war’s victims have to carry the weight of a double stigma, and the war doesn’t discriminate when it comes to suffering and misery. The film’s main characters are Kenan, a professional cello player of Muslim origin, and Milan, his Serbian lover whom we first meet in Sarajevo on the brink of civil war. Kenan still doesn’t believe that an actual war will break out, but Milan insists this is their last chance to escape before it does. They finally depart, but the Serb forces have already surrounded the city and getting out of Sarajevo for the Muslim part of the population proves rather tricky as no circumcised men get past these madmen with weapons. But Milan gets an idea and they both manage to get to his native village, Kenan dressed up as a woman. Their plan is to find a way of leaving this country as it’s sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of mass murder and pure insanity and simply “go West”. In the meantime, we see local men march off to the frontline only to be returned as cartloads of corpses some time later. We see a local Orthodox priest passionately igniting ethnic hatred in his preachings and singing about Serbia from Tokyo to New York. We see brutality and complete and utter indeference to the former neighbours’ plight. We see everything’s and everyone’s fragility, but most of all, hopelessness. And then in the midst of all this we see a scene where Milan tells Kenan about Holland, a country whose biggest export item are tulips. A country far away and yet so close, a country which is the complete antipode to their present surroundings. A ray of hope in the midst of hopelessness, a vision of normality, a different normality – one that doesn’t kill you for what you are, one where you don’t have to conceal your identity in order to survive. However, Milan is soon enough called to the trenches and Kenan is forced to fight his everyday silent battle alone in the company of Ljubomir, Milan’s father and Ranka, a local woman whose reputation keeps the other villagers miles away from her. The situation inevitably gets out of control and nothing will ever be the same again. Like in any war, there are ultimately no winners, only losers.

Some people criticise “Go West” for making a mockery of Serbs, generalising about a whole people. And yes, some scenes seem somewhat exaggerated and caricaturising: the singing well-wishers arriving at the wedding on what seems to be the biggest truck known to mankind, the war-mongering but legless priest, the chainsaw-playing twins. I was never there myself, so I couldn’t say for sure, but somehow even those characters don’t seem too bizarre and out of place and time. To be honest, the relative comic relief which they offer is rather reminiscent of some of the characters in Emir Kusturica’s film universe and you can hardly accuse him of being anti-Serbian. The madness of war brings out many things in people. Tim Judah, the author of the book “The Serbs. History, Myth and The Destruction of Yugoslavia” and a former Balkan war correspondent, quotes a psychiatrist who stayed in Sarajevo throughout the war saying that his mental patients “had had some improvement, by contrast normal people had got worse”. When seemingly normal people turn into mass murderers almost overnight, you can definitely believe a few bizarre characters in "Go West". On the other side, you also see ravaged characters, people without any future hopes, only past to turn to for comfort. People who also know it all too well. The totality of the ongoing tragedy weighs heavily on most characters in this film. The others, those taken over by insanity, will unavoidably have to deal with it later. If they survive, that is.

“Go West” is not a "black" film despite its rather "black" premise. Most of all, I think it is a film about the human spirit which will prevail in even the most unhuman circumstances. It is about that ray of hope. It is about immense loss, but also the courage to continue. The cello shall play on!

Here you can watch the film's trailer

Saturday, 15 September 2007

This Is England (UK, 2006)

Director: Shane Meadows.

Principal cast: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham.

There are films which deal with reality through fiction in its many forms and there are films which try to portray reality as accurately as a human mind can remember it adding an almost documentary feel to them. "This Is England" certainly belongs to the latter category since the skinhead environment which is the main framework of the film’s plot is recreated by and large from the memories of Shane Meadows, its director. But it also recreates so much more – the 80s, the North of England in the 80s, growing up as a working class lad in the North of England in the 80s. A lot of effort went into recreating authentic hairdos, styles, interior and such. If there has ever been a period piece about the 80s, this is definitely the one.

The film follows the life of a 12 year old boy Shaun (although I must admit that he physically appears to be somewhat younger), a lonesome and rather awkward lad who lives alone with his mother since his dad died in the war over the Falklands. On his way home back from his last day at school before holidays he meets a gang of skinheads with whom he soon forges bonds of friendship. At first glance, this is a motley crew of bored teenagers of both sexes who should have been too cool to other than snigger at the little Shaun. Still, they take him in, if only because they are craving for a new face. To be part of the gang he also needs to look the part, so soon enough his head is bald, he wears a Ben Sherman shirt with suspenders and accompanying boots. But the change isn’t only in his appearance (funny enough, his mother only objected to his shaved head, but didn’t say a word about his overall skinhead look), he seems to have got a sense of belonging and cameraderie which seems to make his life more meaningful and simply more fun. As for this bunch of self-proclaimed skinheads, their „misbehaviour” is relatively innocent – the worst thing they do is go berserk in an abandoned house. Their gang even includes a Jamaican – a far cry from the white supremacy direction that the skinhead movement is about to take. And presumably, it would have stayed that way, at least, in their case, had it not been for the return of Combo, an older skinhead who had just been released from prison. Disenchanted with the world and bitter about his own misfortunes he soon tries to lead the group onto a much bumpier road – a fight for England with „no niggers and other scum” who take the jobs and housing away from the English. The group splits in the middle and Shaun is carried away by Combo’s rhetoric whom he now sees as something of a father figure. Combo, in his turn, sees Shaun as the young apprentice and soulmate he needs in order to feel better about himself. But when the going gets tough, young Shaun is forced to question Combo’s moral authority and racist views.

What is remarkable about this film is not so much the plot itself, but the mental dissection of the two main characters – Shaun and Combo. Much has been said about Thomas Turgoose, the newly found talent who plays Shaun. He has even received The Most Promising Newcomer Award for his part in the film. And his acting is indeed very convincing, maybe because he didn’t really have to act in the true meaning of the word. I found that the most amazing performance in the film came from Stephen Graham who played Combo and whom many remember as the dim-witted Tommy in Guy Ritchie’s "Snatch". In this role he shows the full amplitude of Combo’s emotions and especially the unpredictability of his character. Combo is a social outcast, a loser in all respects, somebody who has never had many happy memories about anything. When he tells Lol, a girl he once spent a night with before going to jail, that that night is the happiest memory he has, she smashes the last illusion of a happy memory in him by saying that for her it was the most disgusting memory. He is bitter at the world, he is full of hatred toward all these people who have it better off than him, especially if they aren’t white. So the choice of a scapegoat is obvious which has also made it so much easier for the National Front and the likes of them to recruit Combo and other bitter and disenchanted „Thatcher’s children” to their cause and political ideas. Suddenly, one’s life gets a meaning and a way of channelling out the dark emotions in oneself, if only in the wrong direction. But that is still on a higher and more general level. When Combo is directly confronted with the happy memories of Milk, the Jamaican member of the original pre-Combo gang, the hatred becomes personal and inevitably culminates in an explosion of uncontrollable violence. The world is never as black and white as presented by the extremist ideologists and this certainly also applies to Combo. For all it’s worth, he actually liked the guy and having made sure that he actually considers himself English even wanted him to join his gang. The fact that Stephen Graham is himself of a mixed racial background (his grandfather was a black Jamaican) only adds to the depth of his portrayal of the demons Combo fights with in himself.

The Falklands war which takes place in the background is a parallell to the world of the bullying skinheads, only the war takes it onto the national level. Combo and his friends bully the "niggers" because it makes them feel better about themselves. One can argue that the Falklands war took place because it made the British nation feel better about themselves. This makes it all the more ironic that Combo is the one who fiercely opposes this war.

All in all, a superb English film with excellent actors and a genuine depth to it without relying on your recognition of symbols and coded messages. It’s as straightforward as it can be – what you see is what you get and you get it galore.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Du levande (You, the Living, Sweden, 2007)

Gläds då, du levande i din djupt uppvärmda säng innan Lethes iskalla våg slickar din flyende fot.

Therefore rejoice, oh thou living one, blest in they lovelighted homestead, ere the dark Lethe’s sad wave wetteth they fugetive foot.

Director: Roy Andersson.

The Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson’s latest film "Du levande" (You, the Living) is not easy to review. One of the reasons is that in his own words he has broken with the Anglo-Saxon tradition of story-telling, in all essence the template of most Western film productions. Another reason might be that although Roy Andersson is somewhat heavy on symbolisms, his, unlike those of, say, Andrei Tarkovsky, are of a more elusive nature. It took him 3 years to complete this 86 minute long film and it wasn’t because he was forced to have long breaks between shootings due to financial troubles or problems with the actors. The film consists of 57 vignettes shot mostly by a still camera, and it was the careful design of each of these scenes which required much time. The imagery of this film which is closely related to the director’s previous film "Sånger från andra våningen" (Songs from the Second Floor, 2000) is of utmost importance to the story, thus this story is told to a great degree by the surroundings and the environment in which the characters of Andersson’s universe dwell and interact. Before each scene was finally shot, there would have been no less than 10 different test shootings with different actors, colours, dialogue etc. The result is a dreamlike version of the surrounding world which most of us would recognize and if the setting is like a dream, why not dream a little? Just like in Bunuel’s "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie", when somebody says “Last night I had a dream”, you get to watch it. But then again, what is perceived as reality here is not very much different from the dreams.

Despite the fact that the film lacks a plot in the traditional sense of the word and there are no main characters as such, the different characters who appear and reappear in different scenes still meet each other and their stories are inevitably intertwined. What most of these characters have in common is their apparent loneliness despite being surrounded by other people. The trailer trash chain smoking and binge drinking woman who dreams of having a motorbike so that she can get away from “all this shit”, her corpulent and mostly silent boyfriend and his frail and seemingly gentle but rather absent-minded mother, members of a brass band whose skill improving efforts at home aren’t getting a favourable reception neither from their families nor their neighbours, the depressed Middle Eastern hairdresser and his arrogant customer on his way to “a very important business meeting”, an elderly man having a nightmare about bombers in the skies, a young girl dreaming about marrying the young rock star that she is so madly in love with. It’s all about dreams and nightmares versus reality but it works as much as a statement in support of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s claims that “all human communication is miscommunication”. People speak to each other but it is as if they speak past each other. They try to reach out to the others but shut the others out when those try to reach them.

"Du levande" (You, the Living) is a poetic film set physically in Stockholm but yet universally applicable. The society it portrays is Sweden, its artistic language and the people displayed are generally unmistakably Nordic. Yet, the subject it deals with, namely, the misery of the humankind in a selfish world, reaches far beyond this hemisphere. Despite the seriousness of its theme, the film itself seems a lot more cheerful and laden with humour than one might have expected. But in the words of the director himself “living is so complicated to each one of us that the only thing that saves us is our sense of humor”. Hence, this film is a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy, depending on your sensitivities, and not a depressing black reality tour of the human nature. It is unusual in its language and structure, but if you can think outside the box and enjoy it, you will certainly find this film both entertaining and meaningful at the same time. It was shown at this year’s Cannes festival as part of the Un Certain Regard programme which offers “original and different works” outside the competition. After the film was shown in the Salle Debussy, the 1,000 strong audience gave it a standing ovation for several minutes. Do I need to say more?

Here is a short film about the making of "Du levande".

And here you can watch a video clip for The Reckoner, a Radioheads song which uses scenes from the film

Keillers Park (Sweden, 2006)

Director: Susanna Edwards.

Principal cast: Mårten Klingberg, Pjotr Giro.

"Keillers Park" is a Swedish film made in 2006 which is loosely based on the story surrounding the tragic death of a 37 year old man in the aforementioned park in the middle of Gothenburg in 1997. His death was a homophobic killing, and although the victim's boyfriend was accused of his murder initially, the real perpetrators were later found and convicted.

What might have been another hate crime story actually turned out to be a film about the belated sexual awakening and coming out of Peter, a 30 something Swedish civil engineer of Latvian origin (yes, isn't that an interesting twist to the story?) who finds his entire existence turned upside down after a chance encounter with Nassim, a gay free spirit born in Algeria, longing to open a "tabac" in Paris, but stuck in the cold climate of Sweden. Giving in to his desire, Peter soon loses the perfect Swedish middle class life he has been leading hitherto - his girlfriend understandably enough walks out on him, his stock conservative father disowns him and throws him out of the family business he was soon to inherit. His former friends want nothing to do with him anymore and he finds it difficult to adjust to the new ones that come with the new territory. However, the personal happiness that seems to have come with the changes in his life still makes up for the losses. Or so he thinks. After a quarrel, Nassim is gone for several days and when he calls in the dead of the night asking for his bag, Peter discovers a plane ticket to Paris in Nassim's name. Shortly thereafter, the police storm Peter's flat, take him into custody and charge him with Nassim's murder.

The story of the two men's relationship is revealed through Peter's interrogation by the police using flashbacks and is never boring, albeit painful to watch at times. The storytelling is strong and somewhat convincing, but I must say, only somewhat. I believe that it's possible to keep such an essential part of one's personality as sexuality at bay for many years, then something triggers one's true essence to come forth and lo and behold - here he is - sharing his bed with another man. I must admit that it sounds slightly out of this world, but yeah, what the hell, I can believe such premise - people are, after all, strange and often inexplicable beings. What I did find a lot less convincing was the apparent ease with which the change came. It may be down to the cliche non-expressive facade of the Nordic people, but it just seemed like Peter really didn't find it particularly hard to, in all essence, lose the ground he had been standing on. Also the culture clash between the orderly mind of a Swedish engineer and that of a free North African spirit was to be expected but I found the way in which it was shown rather perplexing. Nassim simply explodes one night because he's had enough of Peter. The build-up to the scene is simply not sufficient to make me believe such a sudden outburst, especially Peter's reaction. It is instrumental to the plot but it certainly does nothing to present the characters in a more realistic fashion.

Another flaw with the story is that Peter's surroundings in Sweden of our day and age all seem to be so homophobic and prejudiced, especially taking into account that the story takes place in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city. The police interrogating Peter make homophobic remarks, his former friends are horrified that he's gay and his father completely abandons him. Although even in Sweden all of this could have happened, the totality of it all doesn't feel all too real. Actually, I could see this film set in Latvia to a higher degree than in Gothenburg, hence the irony of the main character being of Latvian origin. In a way, one could say that this is the first film ever made about a gay Latvian and in that respect the tragedy of it all only seems appropriate. Or not.

Susanna Edwards' first attempt at a full length feature film comes across as solid. The acting is mostly good and the camera work deserves a big compliment. Despite some flaws, "Keillers Park" is certainly worth watching. It's a murder thriller and it's a love story. With a Swedish noir feeling about it.

Here you can watch the film's trailer