Videoman (18) – worth a rewind?

In short, yes.

Shown at HOME Mcr, UK, last month, as part of the FilmFear season, Swedish film Videoman (Videomannen) is one of those films where it’s difficult to explain what it’s about.

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I mean, I suppose it’s relatively easy but not in a way that really makes much sense when trying to convey to someone its charms.

I guess it’s one of those films which will either provoke curiosity or not – and that’s fine.

Although it should.

Here goes…

A man collects VHS tapes. He’s a serious collector. He once owned one of Sweden’s most successful VHS stores.

He wants that back. He also wants the rare VHS back that someone has stolen from him, just before he is about to make the sale of a lifetime to the mysterious, legendary and potentially dangerous ‘Faceless’.

The main characters, Ennio Midena (Stefan Sauk) and Simone Karlsson (Lena Nilsson)  chaotically cross paths when at one of the most extreme, transitional, poetic, revelatory weeks of their lives. He needs that VHS. She needs that drink. And a life (a life beyond the synthetic one she attempts to create on Instagram).

The themes are many but overriding here is 80s nostalgia. His fixation for his VHS tapes, hers for the life she lived before the divorce and her daughter grew up and left; the way she looked, before things took a more functional and solitary turn.

Both hammer the booze, both live in a technological world (granted, she’s moved onto digital).

Both are looking to replace the objects of their amour and wish to escape the present day with something other.

But this is not a romance. I mean it is but it’s a thriller, it’s a horror, it’s a kitchen-sink drama, it’s a sci-fi, it’s a ‘crime-caper’. Don’t you just love the word caper?

It’s definitely a comedy.

I think the most surreal/laugh out loud moment is further on in the scene depicted below, when a particularly furious argument breaks out against the paused back drop of a close up of a woman’s…part.

Second in line is the curious in-depth knowledge held by Simone on Ancient Egypt.

Written and Directed by Kristian A. Soderstrom, the film is a gem. An unapologetic, weird, unsettling, hilarious, dark love letter to the 80s/suicide note to the present day. Because who wants to live in the present day?

  • Certificate 18
  • 93 minutes
  • Swedish with English Subtitles