This week BUFS is pleased to present A Man Called Ove, a Drama/Comedy from Swedish director Hannes Holm.
In an adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s best-selling novel of the same name, Hannes Holm shares the heartwarming tale of a short tempered, stubborn elderly man. With strict routines, adamant beliefs and the assumption that everyone around him is idiotic, Ove (Rolf Lassgård) lives as an isolated retiree embracing the angry old man persona. After new neighbors accidently run over his mailbox, Ove’s regimented world is dismantled beyond belief. The film unfolds in both the present and the past, allowing the audience to reassess the protagonist to highlight the unreliability of first impressions. Like most people, behind his gruff exterior, Ove is a genuinely good and heroic man. Despite how annoying, nosey, and doting Ove appears, and despite him being a terror to his suburban neighbourhood, he still gains sympathy from the audience.
Privately mourning his wife Sonja’s (Ida Engvoll) recent death, Ove hopes to join her as soon as possible, he just happens to be terrible at dying. With each suicide attempt, followed a long flashback revealing more of his backstory and becoming more appealing and worthy of compassion. Ove is a man who experiences tremendous pain and suffering throughout his life and always persevered. Over his life, he develops a justified hatred for bureaucracy, falls in love with Sonja, and drives a Saab. His way of life is set in stone and is something Ove embraces, but his friendship with the new neighbours sheds a new light on how Ove sees himself
and his life.
What is beautiful about this film, is how Holm makes it clear that being needed is an essential human desire, one that makes life worth living. People need others to survive and pregnant Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), her young daughters (Nelly Jamarani, Xozan Akgun) and cumbersome husband Patrik (Tobias Almborg) all make Ove’s life that much sweeter. Beneath the flashbacks induced by suicide attempts and life as an agonized old man, lays a casual and contemporary social history of Sweden. A Man Called Ove insists that cultural continuity is made through community, not exclusivity. Holm displays our desires for inclusion in a wretched and painfully mundane old man and makes it funny.
A Man Called Ove screens Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Landmark Theatres, Pen Centre. Visit www.brocku.ca/bufs for details.
-Meagan Forde, Contributor