Fantastic Fest 2012
By Don Simpson | September 26, 2012
Director: Patrik Eklund
Writer: Patrik Eklund
Starring: Jacob Nordenson, Anki Larsson, Kjell Bergqvist, Kerstin Andersson, Sissela Benn, Mats Bergman, Alexander Dahlström, Ronny Eriksson, Saga Eserstam, Ingar Helge Gimle, Johnny Grape, Svante Grundberg, Saga Gärde, Annika Hallin, Gerhard Hoberstorfer, Jimmy Lindström, Greger Ottosson, Margareta Pettersson, Daniel Rudstedt, Olle Sarri, Maria Sid, Allan Svensson, Filip Tallhamn, Lotti Törnros, Sven Wollter
The quaint Swedish town of Backberga appears to be living in the 1970s, at least judging from the characters’ fashion sense and the architectural design. Backberga is best known as the home to Universal Communication Development — otherwise known as Unicom — a telecom company that has also failed to keep up with the world around it. The old white guys who run Unicom are completely clueless as to why they are stuck in a technological quagmire. Their solution: hire a hip, young marketing guy to whip up some new corporate branding.
No one seems to realize that Unicom’s biggest problems are related to the recurring black-outs which repeatedly leave Backberga in the dark. The first power outage is accidentally caused by couple of hapless Unicom electrical engineers — Roland (Jimmy Lindström) and Jörgen (Olle Sarri) — and it is this event that serves as the catalyst that sets the parallel plots of Patrik Eklund’s Flicker in motion.
Roland, for one, is hospitalized and deemed infertile. Jörgen grows increasingly guilt-ridden that Roland’s electrocution — and thus his infertility — might have been his fault; it also turns out that he has developed an allergy to electricity. Then, seemingly unrelated to Roland and Jörgen’s narratives, there is Kenneth (Jacob Nordenson), a mid-level Unicom employee who produces the company’s financial reports. The initial black-out occurs just as Kenneth is attempting to save the reports for Unicom’s rapidly approaching quarterly board meeting. Without access to his computer files, Kenneth is deemed the dunce of the board meeting. All the while, the oh-so-frumpy and middle-aged Kenneth is also attempting to find love via a telephone dating service. (One of many clever illustrations to just how antiquated Backberga’s culture is.)
Flicker is a clever parable on Backberga’s strange relationship with modernity, while also critiquing the corporate environment perpetuated by the old white males. Eklund finds absurdist amusement in the generational divide, specifically the rift which is perpetuated by technology. Corporations clearly cannot keep up with the times without following technological innovations — but how about the common people, do they really need the latest and greatest gadgets to remain satisfied in life? Heck, maybe they do not even need electricity to be happy…