Sweden/Denmark, 2018, 110 min, DCP, Dir. Ali Abbasi, Rated R, Swedish/English with English subtitles, Neon
"An exciting, intelligent mix of romance, Nordic noir, social realism, and supernatural horror that defies and subverts genre conventions." —Alissa Simon, Variety
"This is a movie that aims to startle in overt and subtextual ways; the less known before viewing, the better." —Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
Tina (Eva Melander) is a border guard who has the ability to smell human emotions and catch smugglers. When she comes across a mysterious man with a smell that confounds her detection, she is forced to confront hugely disturbing insights about herself and humankind.
One of the most joyous “body horror” films ever, Ali Abassi’s Border has the distinction of being one of my top exhibition experiences of the last decade. I saw it in Cannes and once I realized what I was in for, the smile never left my face. Roger Ebert and others have credited cinema with being an empathy machine, and its power to help us walk in the shoes of another certainly is one of the attributes that attracted me to the medium, but Abassi’s film forces us to see the alien or monster in all of us, the love within the monster, the monster within love, the absurdity of reality, and the reality of absurdity. I just dare you to try to mix all of that into one drink and consume it in a single sitting. You may never be the same again, but you’ll be better for it! – Ted Hope
This June at After Hours, experience remarkably distinct non-genre-conforming cinema with a selection of four films curated by guest programmer Ted Hope.
A note from Ted Hope
When we sit down to take in a film, we offer a challenge: go ahead, and blow my mind. Take me somewhere I have never been! Freak me out!! Change me!!! It is an incredible offer we audiences give to the filmmakers, but so few really choose to take us up on it. I think the first time I had a physical reaction to a movie was Eraserhead. It truly got inside me and made me queasy. I was in film school then; I went with a plan to make a very specific film. I storyboarded it and everything, but then one day our teacher screened Jean Cocteau's Blood of a Poet for us—and it was the movie I had been planning to make. I did not understand how that could be as I had no recollection of ever seeing Cocteau's original version; it was if it had been summoned from my dreams. It was the next weekend that I saw Eraserhead and felt more like a nightmare that I had never dreamed than any film I had seen before.
I eventually pieced together the puzzle of how I had seemingly dreamed Cocteau's film, but I was already hooked into a relationship with the cinematically surreal. Despite an extra-large dose of Bunuel, side heapings of Terry Gilliam, and acquiring my own print of Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon, I could never satisfy my urge for more of the surreal in modern cinema. I got to make Michel Gondry's first feature Human Nature with Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman, perhaps the trio of most regular contributors to the realm, but again just-not-enough. Some may call all these films in my initial selection “horror,” but I don't think any “horror fans” would. The films here are remarkably distinct non-genre-conforming cinema, and for me, delightfully so.
A note from Brenda Moe
As executive director and programming director I am excited to tell you about In Exhibition With: my newest series where I invite a friend to build a film program for our audience. I am thrilled to unveil a June After Hours takeover, In Exhibition With: Ted Hope - Children of Lynch and The New Surreal.
Ted Hope is one of the most thoughtful, prolific, and involved professionals in film that I am lucky to know. Ted's early years include working with Hal Hartley on The Unbelievable Truth and Trust. As a co-founder of Good Machine and This Is That, Ted produced the first films of Ang Lee, Nicole Holofcener, Todd Field, Michel Gondry, Moisés Kaufman, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Ted served as executive director of San Francisco Film Society, and head of production for Amazon Original Movies. He's also a twice published author. Variety says of Ted, “no film exec is better qualified to brainstorm ideas for saving indie films than Ted Hope.” In early emails with Ted, he mentioned that he wanted to create a Lynch-inspired program. I jumped at the chance.
Click above to read program notes.