One of the quirkiest Swedish films of recent memory, “The Guitar Mongoloid” has all the makings of a cult classic. Shot on a shoestring over several years, pic defies traditional norms of storytelling, making it a distant cousin to the films of iconoclast Roy Andersson (“Songs From the Second Floor”). A dark, but also humorous, depiction of a society with lonely people and sudden outbursts of violence, pic is ideal fest fare.
In each sequence, the camera remains in a fixed position, recording events that unfold. On a roof, a young boy twists TV antennas so viewers’ reception goes fuzzy. A woman leaves her apartment, showing signs of compulsive behavior. A boy plays his guitar, screaming rather than singing the lyrics. Some young men destroy all the bicycles they can find. Two men in a kitchen try to convince a third man, whose face is digitally obscured, to participate in a game of Russian roulette. These people, and others, reappear throughout the film, which has no traditional narrative, instead describing moods and feelings in Sweden in the new millennium. Helmer-writer Ruben Ostlund shot new sequences when circumstances (including money) allowed.