I first heard of Lukas Moodysson when I purchased Cinema Now (Bailey, 2007). This book devoted a paragraph to various directors through out world cinema, with plenty of set pictures and screenshots. What really brought my attention to Moodysson was the DVD included with the book. This DVD has shorts and movie trailers from an assortment of directors featured in this book. This DVD has all of the trailers for Moodysson’s movies. When I saw the trailer for Container (Moodysson, 2005/2006) I was instantly captivated.
99% of the people who read this review will not like or enjoy the movie, they may want their time back. The other 1% will find this to be a fascinating film. Since Container is a plot-less film it is hard to describe and easier to compare with films like Gummo (Korine, 1997); Juilen-Donkey Boy (Korine, 1999); or What is it? (Glover, 2005), It Is Fine! Everything is Fine (Glover, 2007); and other more avant-garde forms of cinema.
Before Moodysson became a filmmaker he was a poet. He decided to become a filmmaker, to create art that was less introverted and more accessible. That did not happen with this film. Container needs to be looked at as a poem or a dairy. Jena Malone gives a despondent voice over to images that do not match what is on screen, with voice over dialogue asking: why are children starving in Africa, why is there some much hate in the world, asking what’s the point doing anything when one will just die. Shot on 16mm black and white blown up to 35mm giving the film a harsh grainy look, with an apocalyptic landscape to match. This apocalyptic landscape is not just physical but an emotional one.
From a literary standpoint I may compare it to Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground (1864). Some who have read Notes From Underground may feel insulted by this comparison. Container is certainly not firing at the same caliber, but it does have the same existential despairing tone: if despair is all there is what do we have to look forward to. I also would compare it Anne Carson’s Glass, Irony, and God or Lydia Davis’ Variety of Disturbances. Both of these books play around with form and convention to bring the reader to an intense emotional tone of the character, sometimes funny some times sad.
Overall I found Container to be a good film worth checking out. I believe this to be a personal film saying something about the human condition and a look at the mind of a depressive. This will take more than one viewing of the film to fully grasp, if at all possible. I feel putting words to the theme of this movie may detract from its power. Watch the trailer and see if this is for you, if so click on the link below because it is not available in America.