Archive of films Involuntary / De ofrivilliga

2008, 98 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2008

Two blond teenage girls have affected chats, a group of young men experiments with sex, a young teacher tries to resolve a case of bullying and a group of passengers are held prisoner by a bus driver. With his bizarre sense of humour, together with its uncanny talent for observation, the filmmaker examines the herd mentality and the urge to overstep taboo.


Two blond teenage girls have affected chats, take pictures and get drunk, a group of young men experiment with sex, a young teacher tries to resolve the problem of a student being bullied by another teacher, and a group of passengers are held prisoner by a bus driver. Involuntary interweaves several parallel plotlines that are otherwise linked together only by the theme of herd mentality and the urge or determination to overstep taboo. The protagonists often behave idiotically and illogically in a crowd to keep from losing face, and thus find themselves in complicated situations. Their behaviour is also reflected in the original camerawork, which often deals with seemingly entirely irrelevant situations and uses unconventional angles or points of view. Its bizarre sense of humour, together with an uncanny talent for observing the curiosities of interpersonal communication, made Involuntary one of the most original films in the Cannes Un Certain Regard section, where it premiered this year.

About the director

Ruben Östlund (b. 1974, Sweden) comes from the small island of Styrsö on the west coast of Sweden. An ardent skier, Östlund started out making the films Free Radicals 1–3 between 1995 and 1998, which introduced an entirely new way of filming winter sports. In 1998 he began studying film at the University of Gothenburg, and in 2004 he made his feature film debut The Guitar Mongoloid (Gitarrmongot). A year later, this film about people looking for their place in society won the FIPRESCI Award at the Moscow film festival. He also made the short film Autobiographical Scene Number: 6882 (Scen nr: 6882 ur mitt liv, 2006), which won him the UIP award in Edinburgh and was nominated for Best Swedish Short of the year. Involuntary is his second feature-length film.


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Swedish Film Institute
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E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Ruben Östlund
Screenplay: Ruben Östlund, Erik Hemmendorff
Dir. of Photography: Marius Dybwad Brandrud
Music: Benny Andersson
Editor: Ruben Östlund
Producer: Erik Hemmendorff
Production: Plattform Produktion
Cast: Villmar Björkman, Lola Ewerlund, Maria Lundqvist, Henrik Vikman, Linnea Cart-Lamy, Sara Eriksson, Cecilia Milocco, Leif Edlund Johansson
Contact: Coproduction Office, Swedish Film Institute


Gunnar Almér

Film Institution Rep.


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