Goteborg 2016: The Yard
- Domestic Premiere: 29 January 2016 (Goteborg Film Festival)
- International Premiere: Nothing confirmed yet
Any film festival opening film is set to be promising!
Minimalist, beautifully shot and tightly edited – by the time The Yard is over you can’t believe the 80 minutes are up.
Perfect for audiences into contemporary Nordic cinema
The Goteborg Film a festival is the primary meeting place for contemporary Nordic cinema, and with The Yard as this years opening film it’s a sign that Nordic film is as strong as ever.
The Yard is a film adaptation of a novel by Kristian Lundberg: a semi-autobiographical tale of social status and immigration. Starring Anders Mossling as 11811 (all characters are named after their work ID numbers), the film follows our protagonist as he loses his job for being too self critical about his poetry. With no education and nothing to fall back on, he finds himself working at ‘The Yard’, a transhipment hub for car imports. Here he must work alongside an influx of immigrants and under the strict regulations of the Swedish management. When theft becomes apparent amongst the employees, Anders, originally being the typical nice guy, sees that he must put himself and his son first.
The Yard is clearly out to send a message, and its commentary on modern day Malmö and Sweden overall is an important one. The rise of immigration has no doubt created ‘us vs them’ tensions in certain aspects of society, and The Yard almost conveys the message that Swedes are trying to “take back Sweden” (or so a catchy song close to the end of the film tells us). Audiences will no doubt walk away with different messages from this commentary, but that just shows how well The Yard made a complex topic work.
Social commentary aside, the film is impeccably shot by Ita Zbroniec-Zajt, isolating the workers amongst hundreds of cars and depicting the incredibly bland world of the labour force. Måns Månsson is an excellent director, finding striking contrasts in the mechanised world 11811 is surrounded by. The story is typical Scandinavian: subtle climaxes, representation of mundane day-to-day tasks, etc, but it really works in creating the world of The Yard. The music is superb if not too orchestral, and the film is so compactly edited that it almost feels like it should go for just a bit longer. It is potentially difficult to feel emotional for the character – the film rushes into his new job and we don’t really see him struggle until he is working in the yard.
While the film sets out to ask more of the audience than it has answers for, The Yard is an excellent contemporary Swedish film about a Swedish mans struggle to support his family and fit into contemporary society. The Yard is an excellent guide to the quality we can expect at the Goteborg Film Festival this year.