Hold om mig (2010)

1 10 2012

When I first read about this film a couple weeks ago, I assumed it would be little more than just a Danish Larry Clark. I wasn’t exactly wrong, it still strikes that same sort of heavy teen drama chord, but it manages to illustrate a lot more than just Clark’s observations did in a film like say, Bully. This is still pretty far from being a masterpiece. First of all, it seems remarkably flimsy and too crazy to be a story that exist in the reality of high school, but that’s coming from someone who will accept that such a world has changed since I’ve last been that age. Paranoid Park came out the same year and it’s fitting, the actions of the high school students in both films seem so disconnected with my own high school experience.

The narrative revolves around a rape, and this is not earth-shattering and the sequence itself is probably not that graphic and maybe it’s not even that disturbing if you’re not extremely sensitive to the crime itself. This is not a film that exclusively slinks around in the “psychology” of the victim and the rapists. It does that, but the narrative gains a greater resonance with its interpretation of the concept. Rape has weirdly become part of casual conversation, a punchline to a joke or simply something that isn’t automatically greeted with the horror like it should be. Even a “feminist” (the use of quotes is very intentional) like Amanda Palmer feels like rape can be play-acted for performance art.


There’s a crucial scene in the film that, in its structure, is such a simplistic storytelling move, but it provides the film its biggest, most important bit of social commentary. Literally minutes before the actual rape scene (which is viewed as “pretend” by some characters), the victim is teased and “playfully” abused in a sequence that is unquestionably bizarre. She’s even in on the joke and greets this type of performance as an expression of admiration. Again, it’s so weird before the context of what happens after, but it’s a perfect illustration afterwards. The line between just playing around and becoming a reality is blurred so quickly because the casual mindset of rape has been justified, confirmed as acceptable behavior.

The film does still play up the Clark stuff following this sequence, but it doesn’t feature anything that resonates quite as profoundly. We see the aftermath of the event in the emotional hit it takes on mostly perpetrators, though it does lend its fair share of time to the victim. It ultimately becomes nothing more than the students being fractured by the realization that they’ve committed a crime. It’s a far less fascinating illustration than that of the actual victim struggling to comes to turn with the abuse that has been afflicted on her and even worse, trying to find someone who will listen to her.

I guess there’s enough here from a technical perspective to also recommend a viewing if you aren’t for whatever reason, intrigued by the meditation on culture I’ve managed to develop from this film. It’s a bit conventional with the over the shoulder shot/reverse shot stuff, but the overdone “saturated and very blue-ish” visuals are nice. Nothing crazy, but it does serve the film well if you’re just going to look at it from the angle of being strictly a thriller. On the other hand, I think to do so would greatly misread its purpose. This could be a problem since the film does indulge in all the typical genre stuff, but then again, give it credit for working within a certain mold to produce a far more important discourse.



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