Flocking – LFF Review

Flocking

In a small Swedish town Jennifer (Fatime Azemi) accuses her friend and classmate Alexander (John Risto) of rape. In a cruel development the close-knit community decide en masse to believe the accused over the victim. Over almost two hours of slow building tension life gets worse and worse for Jennifer as everyone turns against her and her family; everyone including the local priest and her supposed best friends.

The issue raised here is an important and topical one and not a subject that should be taken lightly. That said Flocking was so bleak, so unrelenting that it simply became unpleasant to watch. The only sympathetic character in the whole piece is Jennifer and so watching the film involves spending a lot of time with people you despise. Jennifer is repeatedly punished for being the victim of rape and at no point receives an iota of sympathy.

Flocking 2

As grim event follows grim even the film never changes pace or allows for light relief. Instead we have those two hours of slow building tension; tension that builds to nothing and is never released. When the credits appeared out of nowhere I felt almost cheated. Where was my catharsis? Or perhaps this is the entire point? Am I complaining about feeling the very thing I was supposed to/.

Director Beata Gårdeler undoubtedly has style and the film is a great example of how unjust societies reactions to a rape accusation can be but Flocking practically punishes its audience for watching. I struggle to recommend or condemn this film; it is an admirable film but you will find no enjoyment here.