Swedish genre film Corridor in competition at Brussels fest
by Vitor Pinto
28/06/2010 - Generally consigned to thematic film festivals, with a rather specific audience and market, genre cinema found its place among the titles presented in competition at the Brussels Film Festival, which closes on June 30. Corridor [trailer, film focus], by Swedish directors Johan Lundborg and Johan Storm, frightened a tough audience, who rejected the temptation of the sun and Football World Cup and chose to watch a claustrophobic film, in the fine tradition of 1970s US psychological thrillers.
Corridor catches up with Frank, a character created by Lundborg in 2003, in his final-year short film at Gothenburg University. Back then, Frank was a competitive medical student and antisocial neighbour. Seven years later, these traits are still in evidence in Corridor, a feature-length version of that 2003 film, this time co-directed by Storm, who also graduated in Film Studies from Gothenburg University.
An antihero par excellence, both cowardly and calculating, Frank (played in both films by Norwegian actor Emil Johnsen) is convinced that his intrusive neighbour Lotte (Ylva Gallon) has been murdered by her jealous boyfriend (Peter Stormare). From then on begins a series of incidents, deceptions, telephone calls and pursuits with unexpected consequences.
The fascination that Frank seems to exert over the two filmmakers is shown in the time and details dedicated to him in the screenplay. With its sparse dialogue but powerful capacity for visual narration, in Corridor Frank “grows” before viewers’ eyes, to the point where, throughout, our expectations and fears are manipulated by what the character thinks, does and imagines.
Shot almost entirely in interiors (the university, Frank’s flat, the corridors of the building…), one of the film’s most interesting aspects lies in this huis clos effect. The interiors accentuate the characters’ anguish and doubts and, while the space of the action is limited, this encourages an inventive direction that doesn’t need to resort to special effects to create the desired tension and anxiety. What is hidden is usually more horrible than what is shown, and this talented new pair of Swedish directors already seem to know how to use this to effect.