Quickie Review: Border (Gräns)

You probably won’t see a more satisfyingly strange film this year than Border. The main character is Tina, a Swedish customs agent with an extraordinary talent. She can smell fear and deceit, so she regularly catches people bringing in contraband, too many bottles of wine, and even porn. But when a strange man named Vore passes through her line, she knows there is a something there, but she can’t read him. And she’s attracted to him. And the more she gets to know him, the more she learns about herself and why she has always been so different from everyone else. For her it’s a voyage of self-discovery and her first real romance. For him, it’s political. For us, it’s a bizarrely fun ride.

The film is an adaptation of a short story by John Ajvide Lindqvist, whose also wrote the dark and inventive Let the Right One In, the story of a young boy befriending the vampire girl next door. He knows how to write relationships and situations outside the mainstream. And in Border Tina and Vore’s courtship, sweet as it is at times, is definitely not your usual cinematic romance.

I’m dancing around here trying not to not say too much, because you really need to see this one without knowing a lot going in. Suffice it to say, you must be open to unsettling narratives and folkloric whimsy. It is a lot of fun in a very strange way. The story plays with our perceptions of gender and identity and the lines we cross when we think we must. It’s like no other film out there and I highly recommend it!

[Mainstream Chick’s take: Border definitely skews arty and I was tempted to give up on it early because of its offbeat nature. But I stuck with it and the film sort of stuck with me. It is indeed a strange film – with a love scene like no other. As Arty Chick says, the less you know going in, the more you’ll get out of it. Even my folks liked it. So I consider this foreign film a bit of a wildcard. You may be pleasantly surprised and pleasantly appalled all at once. -hb]


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