Cannes may be over for the filmmakers, but it is certainly still fresh in the minds of distribution companies. Magnolia Pictures recently acquired the U.S. rights to Force Majeure (a.k.a. Turist), the Jury Prize winner in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes this year. Magnolia has been very active at and following the French festival, also acquiring White God.
In the film, disaster strikes a Swedish family on a ski vacation in the French Alps. When an avalanche seemingly threatens to wipe out the family during an outdoor dinner, Tomas, afflicted with fear, runs for safety, while his wife Ebba remains to protect their children. Incidentally the avalanche is a false alarm, but the real collateral damage has already been done. Tomas and Ebba are forced to reexamine their relationship and the meanings of each other’s actions. Alas the real avalanche manifests in the form of a gradually crumbling marriage.
Director Ruben Östlund, an avid skier, is (according to the film’s official festival pamphlet) “well known for his humorous and accurate portrayal of human social behaviour [sic], as well as for his renowned use of Photoshop and other forms of image processing software in his films.” His short film, Incident in the Park (winner of the Golden Bear for Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival) exemplifies his technical prowess: he artificially composed all the camera movements in post-production. He has won several other international awards, such as the Coup de Couer Prize in the Director’s Fortnight category at Cannes for is his last feature Play (2011).
Critics have so far generally praised Force Majeure, especially for its delicate balance of searing drama and biting satire. We’ll see how other critics respond as the release date (which has not yet been announced) approaches. In the meantime, check out the trailer below: