Magazine article Screen International

Love Is in the Air

Magazine article Screen International

Love Is in the Air

Article excerpt

Dir: Simon Staho. Denmark. 2011. 84mins

Simon Staho, the Danish director who has made a name for himself with intense, brooding dramas, takes a turn in a startling new direction with Love Is In The Air (Magi i luften), a pop musical about horny teens that is brash, abrasive and raunchy. Set over the course of one night, this fast cut, uber-stylised affair requires viewer patience to engage with its irritating young protagonists, but the film eventually finds a rhythm of sorts and the characters some tender moments.

The plot here is merely the candyfloss skeleton on which the style and music is constructed.

The film will find favour with younger, hipper buyers who might identify a cult youth value for the film in their territory. Older arthouse buyers who might have relished Staho's elegant former work will find it a cacophonous assault on the senses.

The fact that all the songs are in Danish won't enhance its international chances, although any teen in any country would warm to its brazen sexuality and on-your-sleeve romanticism.

Staho has made some very clear choices here, going for a visual style as vulgarly lit and dressed as Starlight Express or The Wiz and a cutting technique that is the editing equivalent of ADHD, with short scenes and snatches of singing rather than full numbers. Combine that with central characters who are pretty obnoxious for most of the film, the effect is in-your-face to say the least.

But Staho, an expert in probing portraits of human behavior, can't keep the shallowness going for the whole film and somewhere in the second half, the photogenic kids start to shed their attitude and reveal the vulnerabilities beneath. …

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