05 January 2016

Best of 2015: The Here After (Magnus von Horn)

The Here After (Efterskalv). Magnus von Horn. Sweden/Poland/France.

The bleak Scandinavian chamber drama is a class of film dear to my cold heart, and Magnus von Horn’s feature debut is one of the better offerings I’ve seen come out of Sweden since the passing of the genre’s forefather, Ingmar Bergman. Immaculately lensed by Polish cinematographer Lukasz Zal (Ida), The Here After concerns John, a teenage boy just released from prison after murdering his girlfriend, and his unsuccessful attempt to reassemble himself into a town and family that still hasn’t recovered from the tragedy.

What follows is expectedly hopeless and grueling, as the town grapples with alternating anger, denial, confusion, and curiosity, and von Horn explores these conflicting emotions with a surprising depth. Cryptically played by Ulrik Munther, who truly looks like an over-sized child with his baby face and wiry appendages, John remains a haunting blank slate throughout the film, as the people around him start to crumble. The Here After will open theatrically in the U.K. from Soda Pictures in March and currently does not have U.S. distribution. In France, Nour Films will release The Here After under the title Le lendemain sometime later this year.

With: Ulrik Munther, Mats Blomgren, Alexander Nordgren, Wieslaw Komasa, Loa Ek, Ellen Jelinek, Inger Nilsson, Oliver Heilmann, Felix Göransson, Stefan Cronwall

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