Ruben Ostlund’s ‘Tourist’: A ‘Stranglehold on the Nordic Soul’

Philippe Bober's Coproduction Office reps world sales

Ruben Ostlund's 'Tourist': 'Stranglehold on the Nordic Soul'

With his fourth feature film “Tourist”, on which Coproduction Office is handling world sales, Ruben Ostlund is aiming for his third Cannes appearance. On Saturday the Swedish helmer showed the Goteborg Film Festival audience clips from his new film, a chaotic family drama set in the French Alps.

Ostlund is without doubt one of Scandinavia’s most innovative directors. The $5 million-budgeted “Tourist” is his most ambitious film to date. “Involuntar” played in Un Certain Regard in 2008 and much-debated “Play” was screened in Directors Fortnight in 2011. The film later had multiple prizes at festivals.

If Ostlund’s previous pics have played out in several episodes and with multiple characters, “Tourist” is the opposite. A Swedish family on ski holiday is shaken to its ground when an avalanche breaks out. The father can’t come to terms with his instinctive selfishness. Ostlund’s ambition is, once again, “to take a stranglehold of the Nordic soul”, but in a complete new scenery, almost like a chamber play.

“Uncompromisingly, critically and with humor Ruben continues to dissect the human being in terms of conditions and relations,” said Erik Hemmendorff, producing the pic with Marie Kjellson at Goteborg-based Plattform Produktion, to Variety.

“The difference against previous films is that Ruben this time pinpoints a much more intimate situation – it is our view of the family and of a couple that are placed under the microscope – and that it all takes place in such a spectacular place.”

Ostlund himself is a professional ski filmmaker. Hemmendorff told Variety that the triggered avalanche scene will be the most remarkable in film history. “The whole film is like an avalanche, just as brutal, striking and natural.”

Pic is photographed by Fredrik Wenzel and stars Johannes Bah Kuhnke and Norwegian Lisa Loven Kongsli.

“We believe it’s a masterpiece. This time you get even closer to the characters. And the actors’ great performances give it yet another dimension,” said Hemmendorff. In its way to mix the playful with the serious he compared Ostlund’s tragicomedy with Buñuel’s “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie”.

“Tourist” is backed by the Swedish Film Institute, Film I Vast alongside Essential Filmproduktion and Philippe Bober’s CoProduction Office, which is also handling sales.

Corroduction Office is also repping sales for Roy Andersson’s new feature “A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting on Existence”. Andersson is one of Ostlund’s big inspirational sources. Known for his unconventional working method, Andersson has previously said that he’s also aiming for Cannes 2014.