Subtitle European Film Festival, Kilkenny

European Film Festival, Kilkenny.

Next festival: 24–30 Nov 2014


European Film Festival, Kilkenny.

ARCHIVE Note this is an archived page. Information here relates to the 2013 festival and may not be relevant to the upcoming festival.

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Play Dir. Ruben Östlund

  • Sweden
  • 118 mins
  • 2011
  • Drama
  • Colour
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    Director: Ruben Östlund
    Original Title: Play
    Language: Swedish

    Main Cast: Anas Abdirahman, Sebastian Blyckert, Yannick Diakite, Sebastian Hegmar, Abdiaziz Hilowle, Nana Manu, John Ortiz, Kevin Vaz

    Ruben Ostlund’s thoughtful and occasionally harrowing film Play, about youngsters in Sweden being harassed and robbed of their mobile phones and wallets by a gang of other youths, is a fascinating exercise in psychology in a specific social environment.

    Set against the inner city backdrop of central Gothenburg, the film details an elaborate scheme known as the “little brother number,” involving role-play and gang rhetoric rather than pure physical violence. Based on a series of real-life incidents recorded by Swedish police, the scheme relies on subtle and implied menace rather than brute force.

    A challenging and provocative film that upends racist clichés, Play was heavily debated in the Swedish press at the time of its release.

The Bottom Line:

This is a powerfully provocative film that tests our attitudes towards race and class. A group of young Swedish kids of African origin get drawn into a seemingly harmless phone scam… and it’s downhill from that moment on. Counterpointed with a sub-plot of bungling bureaucracy, Östlund seems to be saying that Sweden is focusing its social policy in all the wrong places.

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