Archive for the ‘Swedish’ Category

LFO_official_poster

 In this very funny sci-fi farce a bereaved misfit discovers that he can use low frequency sound waves to control people 

Sweden / Denmark 2013

Director: Antonio Tublén

Writer: Antonio Tublén

Runtime: 94 minutes

 

Awarded Best Feature at the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival, LFO is the second film by Swedish director Antonio Tublén. It is a deliciously funny and sinister story about one man’s malign use of technology, as though the spirit of domestic farce has collided with J.G. Ballard, with a touch of gothic thrown in for good measure.

Patrik Karlson plays a lonely and depressed widower, Robert Ford, whose wife and son were killed in a suspicious car accident that is currently under investigation by the insurance company and police. When he is not busy cooking and eating eggs – whether this is meant to be indicative of Ford’s dullness or whether it has some deeper symbolic meaning is anyone’s guess – Ford spends most of his time in the basement among a tangle of wires and gadgets, where he conducts research into sound waves together with Sinus-San (Erik Börén), who he speaks with via radio. He means to find a treatment for a mysterious self-diagnosed “sound allergy”.

One day Ford discovers that a combination of low frequency oscillations (the LFO of the title) appear to have an hypnotic effect. When a young and attractive couple move in next door, Ford uses them as experimental guinea pigs for his discovery. During coffee with neighbours Simon (Per Löfberg) and Clara (Ahnna Rasch) he slips out of the room, puts on a pair of headphones, then switches on the sound oscillations. Returning, he instructs Simon to come round and wash his windows, and tells Clara that she has started to find him rather attractive. It works, and after further successes Ford breaks into his neighbours’ home and installs sound equipment so that he can direct their lives from his own house. Before long Ford is regularly having sex with Clara, whilst Simon is alternately relegated to the roles of obedient child and butler.

However, despite the success of the experiment things do not go smoothly for Ford. Sinus San turns up to accuse Ford of cutting him out of the work they had been developing together, and threatening to derail his project.  The police show up looking for the neighbours, who have been reported missing. A representative of the insurance company also calls by as part of their ongoing investigation into the car crash that killed Ford’s wife and son. Ford deals with these unwelcome visitors (Or are they figments of Ford’s imagination? A reference to Magritte’s Ceci n’est pas une pipe early on may be a clue**) the same way – by hypnotising them. But there is one visitor that Ford cannot dismiss so readily. At regular intervals the apparition of Ford’s dead wife appears to him, possibly as a ghost but more likely a manifestation of his own unconscious mind and conscience. She reminds him to take his medications, accuses him of causing her fatal car crash, and castigates him about the unethical nature of his sound experiment.

At one level, LFO is a warning about the way that technology can be exploited to satisfy our baser natures. At another level this is simply a very funny science fiction farce. Patrik Karlson’s doleful depiction of Robert Ford beautifully captures this misfit’s depression, but also makes the comic moments all the funnier. The subjects of Ford’s hypnotic suggestion, and especially Per Löfberg and Ahnna Rasch, are terrific at switching between their non-hypnotised and hypnotised selves with just a slight change of facial expression. The fact that the entire movie takes place within interior environments, and with no whizz-bang special effects, is a perfect demonstration, if demonstration is needed, that it is imagination and writing that are at the heart of all good filmmaking.

I don’t want to give a spoiler here, but the end of the film is a startling and hilarious delight.

Rating: 10/10

** I tweeted Antonio Tublén about the pipe image; he said in fact it wasn’t a deliberate reference to Magritte’s painting, though he was playing throughout the film with what’s real or not.

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