sat 16/01/2021

DVD/Blu-ray: Are We Lost Forever | reviews, news & interviews

DVD/Blu-ray: Are We Lost Forever

DVD/Blu-ray: Are We Lost Forever

Separation, Swedish-style, in a chamber portrait of a gay couple in break-up

Moving apart, together: Hampus (Jonathan Andersson, left), with Adrian (Björn Elgerd)

The title of Swedish director David Färdmar’s feature debut gains a degree of helpful context from one of its opening lines, “But there’s no more we”.

The title of Swedish director David Färdmar’s feature debut gains a degree of helpful context from one of its opening lines, “But there’s no more we”. One partner, Hampus (Jonathan Andersson), is telling the other, Adrian (Björn Elgerd), that whatever feelings may remain between them, their life as a gay couple, their coexistence and cohabitation of some years – the element that has made them we – is over. That essence is perhaps told more succinctly in the title of Färdmar’s 2018 short film, simply No More We, an impressionistic, work-in-progress abbreviation over 14 minutes of Are We Lost Forever, into which various fragments were transferred directly and developed into a more standard narrative (No More We appears as one of the extras on this Peccadillo release).

Färdmar has made a naturalistically understated and emotionally perceptive film about a break-up which somehow never becomes fully absolute, a situation in which moods of “move on” alternate, for Adrian especially, with “swing back”, one in which the details of the relationship are gradually revealed through the re-examination of ongoing encounters. (Pre-story visual elements are limited to home-movie sequences of past beach togetherness, a nod perhaps to Arthur J Bressan Jr’s Buddies, with which Färdmar’s rather cataclysmically foreboding title somehow has a degree of resonance.) In the 15-minute interview with the director that Peccadillo includes, he cites – no surprise here – his compatriot Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage as one filmic influence, though his other mention, Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy, with its careful examination, over time, of the changing patterns of a relationship, is no less revealing.

Are We Lost Forever-coverAs a contemporary gay love story, the protagonists of Are We Lost Forever confront issues that go well beyond Bergman, and are very much part of the fabric of the Gothenburg world that Adrian and Hampus inhabit (the film’s almost chamber style means that we see them most in paired close-up, until new partners for each duly come onto the scene). While factors such as remaining faithful remain key – that issue, though remaining unspoken, comes to assume growing importance in the web of their break-up dynamics – the details that define these linked lives are broader. Would the rite of marriage, a step beyond the engagement that links this couple, have cemented their bond more firmly? Or, we wonder, the arrival of children, with surrogacy an issue that’s very much in the air here? The reality of separation comes most definitively home in that most 21st century way, when their shared Facebook page eventually comes to be adjusted.

Nevertheless, the issue of psychology – in the sense of the general balance of the relationship – can be felt in the film in Adrians character, even if Färdmar doesn’t exactly bring it to the forefront: is he too generous to the character through whose eyes we see the story unfold?. There’s an element of self-containment (even, you may wonder, selfishness) to Adrian that surely precipitated the separation (though it’s initiated by Hampus), which is there physically in the restraint of Björn Elgerd’s features in the role, though whether such restraint of performance equates with fully conveying restraint of character remains a moot point. (Another of Färdmar’s short films on this release, We Could Be Parents from 2016, has Elgerd delivering a 15-minute monologue, in which he reveals a considerably wider emotional, as well as purely performative range.) For a film whose title makes you wonder whether one is needed, that may be the final question mark; or perhaps the simplest explanation offered is the one that rings most true – “the love was just gone.”

Watch the trailer for Are We Lost Forever

The reality of separation comes most definitively home when the shared Facebook page eventually comes to be adjusted

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Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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