09 20 Oct '24

‘Turist’ - Vanity Celis

22 Oct 2014
It's never easy to see a grown man cry, and if seen, best seen by as few eyes as possible. “Could you please – please – give us some privacy?” The command is directed to the unwanted onlooker who isn't supposed to stare at the walls of the bourgeois fortress crumbling. In 'Turist,' a hotel cleaner in an Alpine skiing resort witnesses the breakdown of a pater familias. It is only one of the many examples where director Ruben Östlund fools around with what should best be kept behind closed doors, but fails to remain hidden.

'Turist' is the kind of film Michael Haneke would make if he had a sense of humor. It hangs out the dirty laundry of that most respected emblem of bourgeois society – the nuclear family. Ebba has a hard time keeping up appearances after a near-fatal incident that saw Tomas speeding away from his wife and kin. It seems their days are numbered – with Brechtian pancartes, nonetheless.

Östlund tests his characters' limits of control with long, drawn-out dialogue sessions. He frames them with gusto in the most awkward of situations: dinners go sour, evenings with friends are undermined by a breach of decorum. In true Bergmanesque fashion, the couple's troubles are set off against the relationships of their peers, who baffle both Tomas and Ebba with a few questionable morals.

'Turist' draws attention to human fallibility in the most humane of ways. It's no use trying to cover up every one of your shortcomings – not everything is picture perfect.

The Young Critics Workshop is organized in cooperation with Photogénie.

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