PLAY – by Swedish director Ruben Östlund

I am a white Germanic nazi! Or am I? In PLAY, a Swedish film I watched yesterday, I started to root for the white kids, who were conned by a group of 5 black kids. No, not only conned, they were … tortured. Or were these just the games boys play “normally”. What is normal after all?
I just remember that when I stayed in Kista near Stockholm, I got intimidated by the mere presence of immigrant (or better: blatantly non-swedish, non-blonde, non-white) gangs. Or were they gangs at all? Were they just behaving “immigrantly”? Is there such a thing?
Am I a racist when I deliberately decide to sit at the table of the two black guys? Or would I be if I didn’t?
See? After this film you start asking yourself questions like that … the weird games the camera plays with us don’t help either. They make you see things that are very different from what you think you’re seeing. A weird play on our visual convictions. What about our social or ethical ones?
Normally I’d label a film like that “ATTENTION: boring artsy movie”. Not this time. Sit there. Have patience. Follow the camera into a position in time and space where things unfold within and without eyesight and earshot. Sit it out. And don’t try to work afterwards – there’ll just be too many (uncomfortable) questions in your mind …. (why do you think I’m blogging this only today? I really had to sleep on what the heck I should be thinking ;))
About Elisabeth Schabus 477 Articles
I see, I like, I write ... mostly about cinema and actors, but also about politics or economy. In English, auf Deutsch, på svenska. This ORF trained news journalist (TV, radio), who has also worked in corporate publishing for international brands and written/edited tons of magazines, has become a blogger out of passion.

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