Sweden 2000
director / script : Lukas Moodysson
cinematography : Ulf Brantas
editing : Michal Leszczylowski, Fredrik Abrahamsen
lead actors : Michael Nyqvist, Lisa Lindgren, Gustaf Hammarsten, Ola Norell
106 minutes

Together just about works as a frothily enjoyable comedy set in a 1970s Swedish commune. But going any further into writer-director Moodysson’s ‘intentions’ soon runs up against a sour edge to humour that’s invariably at the expense of the characters. Or rather, caricatures – stereotypes ranging from a ludicrous loony lefty (who founds the ‘Communist, Marxist, Leninist Revolutionary League’ before heading off to join the Baader Meinhof gang) to an equally-cardboard conservative neighbour who hits his kid at the slightest provocation. The ultimate sin for Moodysson who idealises children as the only sensible folk around – instinctive conservatives chafing under grown-ups’ idiotic PC diktats.

Though he climaxes his film with a cod-euphoric group footy kickabout to the boisterous strains of ABBA’s ‘SOS’, he gives the game away by ending on a freezeframe two-shot of a reunited couple: this is the only real ‘togetherness’ he seems to understand. For all its faults, Von Trier’s The Idiots at least gave its actors space to build a convincingly organic ‘collective,’ building to a climax of savage emotion that makes Together look like so much kid’s stuff.

Ingmar Bergman reportedly described Moodysson’s jaunty debut Fucking Amal (Show Me Love) as “a young master’s first masterpiece.” Watching Together, one hopes Bergman was indulging in a bit of deadpan sarcasm. The young master’s constant reliance on SMASH ZOOMS suggests he’s set for a glorious future – in crass Italian horror quickies.

for a longer analysis of Together, click here

July 11th, 2001
(seen at the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle, 9-Jul-01)
by Neil Young
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