20 January 2014 | pivic
Clumsiness that works: unorthodox film about bullying, decades on
At a school reunion, a person starts speaking about how she was bullied throughout their nine years together. That's how this film starts; the plot obviously reminded me of Thomas Vinterberg's "The Celebration", but they differ, mainly because of two facts on the side of "The Reunion": a) it's supposedly based on facts that happened to the lead character/the director, Anna Odell, and b) it's cut into two parts. Odell treats this film as an art project, and as such, it loses some to her non-acting skills but wins a lot due to its quite non-sentimental views of what school gave and took away; by "school" I definitely mean the pupils, the teachers and the parents.
The unorthodox build of the film and Odell's clumsiness works to the film's advantage. The real strength of the film is, I think, where it displays some ugly sides that most humans try to hide when the magnifying glass is upon them; bullies play down the blame, the guilt and responsibility, while the obvious victim is shunned, and history is repeated. All are responsible and no-one can say their "child self" is another part of some universe that is not touched by their current responsibility and mental state.
Social structures, meeting your demons, fleeing your guilt, it's here.