Are We Lost Forever

 

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A striking first feature that is a work of substantial promise despite its weaknesses.

 
Are We Lost Forever

Jonathan Andersson and Bjorn Elgerd

 

Heretofore the Swedish filmmaker David Färdmar has limited himself to short pieces but now with this feature debut, which he both wrote and directed and which is set in Gothenburg, he gives us a work of some ambition. It is a study of a relationship breaking up after three years and, given Färdmar's interest in gay themes, it is no surprise that the couple in question are both men. One is Adrian (Björn Elgerd) and the other is Hampus (Jonathan Andersson) and, although we first encounter them in bed together, this is the moment when Hampus speaks out by declaring that while he still loves Adrian he can no longer see the two of them as 'we'.

 

I have heard it suggested that by studying this break-up in such detail Are We Lost Forever will speak not only to gay audiences but to anyone whatever their sexuality who can identify with this situation. I concur with that even though Färdmar does throw in two or three sex scenes quite enthusiastically. If today that is almost par for the course in gay cinema, what is surprising is the time taken portraying the two men in all their complexity. When Hampus opts to leave, Adrian is taken aback having persuaded himself that for some months their relationship had simply been going through a bad patch. Declarations of love continue to be made by both men but expressions, quite possibly long suppressed, of irritation and dissatisfaction keep erupting too. Adrian may feel aggrieved but in time it emerges that he had had doubts earlier and had been unfaithful. Furthermore, a fresh encounter involving an old acquaintance of his shows Adrian concerned only with his own gratification and quite ready to take advantage.

 

Are We Lost Forever may be limited in actual action until Adrian and Hampus eventually find new lovers, but it is admirably rich in the opportunity for the audience to ponder the pros and cons of the relationship and to assess to what extent feelings have been hidden and for how long. Both Elgerd and Andersson give excellent performances and at its best the film brings to mind another intimate study of the emotions of two gay men, Andrew Haigh's splendid Weekend (2011). Micki Stoltt and Nemanja Stojanovic do convince as the men taken up by Adrian and Hampus respectively, but it is the break-up that rivets us leaving the film's last third something of an anticlimax (that feeling is emphasised when Färdmar adds a couple of brief extra scenes at the close which seem redundant). Yet, even if Are We Lost Forever ultimately falls short, it does aim high and marks out David Färdmar as somebody to watch.

 

(Footnote: some may understandably look askance at the absence of any question mark at the end of the title, but what makes it a true curiosity is the fact that the title is that of a song composed by Hampus and that when we see him write it down he does add a question mark!).

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Björn Elgerd, Jonathan Andersson, Micki Stoltt, Nemanja Stojanovic, Victor Iván, Melker Wernberg, Shirin Golchin, Michaela Thorsën, Lisbeth Johansson, Maria Hedborg, Daniel Långelid.

 

Dir David Färdmar, Pro Casper Andreas, David Färdmar and Lis Svensson, Screenplay David Färdmar, Ph Robert Lipic, Johannes Stenson and Camilla Topuntoli, Pro Des David Färdmar, Ed Christoffer Sevholt, Music Per-Henrik Mäenpää, Costumes Sara Pertmann.

 

Färdmars Film/EMBREM Entertainment/Shoot & Post-Peccadillo Pictures.
104 mins. Sweden. 2020. Rel: 18 January 2021. Available on VOD. No Cert.