Swedish actress Pernilla August made her directorial debut. Beyond is a heavy-hearted family drama set in 1970s Sweden. With the alluring Noomi Rapace in the lead role as Leena, August delicately but bravely treads the path home with a scarred little girl, now a grown woman who has to come to terms with her miserable past. The portrait of alcoholism and domestic abuse here is gut-wrenchingly powerful. The film picked up the top prize at Venice Critics’ Week, along with a long standing ovation that speaks volumes.
One of two films that I caught from the Singapore International Film Festival over the weekend. The synopsis pretty much already sums it all up, but just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this film. It was simple & clean, yet pretty powerful with the script-writing and editing.
Viewers were brought on a journey where two storylines were alternating: Leena, as a grown woman, and Leena, as a young girl. The film started off by portraying Leena’s childhood as happy & promising, as she started swimming for the school team and the family moved into a brand new home.
But from the start we knew that Leena had a miserable childhood since she refused to visit her dying mother. It was kind of like knowing the starting & the ending, and figuring out everything in between during the course of the film. In essence, alcoholism consumed her father who became terribly abusive, and it was just painful to watch the consequences as Leena tried her hardest to hold her family together. The child actress that played young Leena (Tehilla Blad) gave a really impressive performance as well.
I’m glad I picked this out from the huge variety in this year’s SIFF lineup. One more film to go this Sunday :)