'Jimmie': Rotterdam Review

By Ide, Wendy | Screen International, January 29, 2018 | Go to article overview

'Jimmie': Rotterdam Review


Ide, Wendy, Screen International


A young boy and his father must flee their Swedish home in the wake of civil unrest

Jimmie

Dir: Jesper Ganslandt. Sweden-Austria-Croatia. 2018. 91mins

Competently made but thematically problematic, the fourth film from Jesper Ganslandt (The Ape, Falkenberg Farewell) walks a precarious line between being an interrogation of white Western privilege, and being an example of it. The film posits a scenario in which civil unrest makes life in Sweden untenable and, together with his father (Gansladt), four-year-old Jimmie (played by Ganslandt’s son Hunter), are forced to flee as refugees. Although well-intentioned, the perception that putting a blond, Scandinavian face onto the migrant crisis makes it somehow easier for Western viewers to identify is unlikely to endear this film to audiences.

The suspect central idea notwithstanding, this is a polished piece of filmmaking

The opening film at Rotterdam, Jimmie won the Eurimages Lab Project Award at Haugesund Film Festival in 2016. It will go on to play at Göteborg Film Festival, before opening in Sweden (from Tri Art Film) at the beginning of March. Further festival slots are possible, however the potentially controversial nature of the material is likely to scare off all but the most fearless distributors. The fact that the film, with a straight face, employs the same racial inversion as a satirical artwork in Ruben Ostlund’s The Square unfortunately doesn’t help its case.

The suspect central idea notwithstanding, this is a polished piece of filmmaking. Ganslandt’s direction of his young son is impressive, resulting in a textured, unaffected, naturalistic performance uncontaminated with any hint of child acting. A non-linear structure captures something of the disorientating assault of a uncertain world as experienced by a four-year-old who hasn’t quite grasped the gravity of the situation. …

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