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  Container Gender Confusion
Year: 2006
Director: Lukas Moodysson
Stars: Jena Malone, Peter Lorentzon, Mariha Åberg
Genre: WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: A whispery, girly voice (Jena Malone) informs us that she is a woman trapped in a man's body, and if she were a boy she'd want to have sex with Paris Hilton all day long. As she talks, images litter the screen of a fat man (Peter Lorentzon) rolling around in a bedroom, dressing up as a woman, poring over celebrity gossip magazines, and licking mirrors, walls, a Do Not Disturb sign and other things, accompanied by a small, dark haired woman. And so it continues, leaving us to ponder whether the narrator is as she says, a man wanting a sex change, or a celebrity herself - or even the Virgin Mary holding the baby Christ in her womb...

Something happened to director and writer Lukas Moodysson between making Together and Lilya 4-Ever. It's as if he suddenly thought, wait a minute, life isn't as sweet as I once thought and a lot of people are victims and it's just not fair. In practice, his films look as if he regressing from a man who made touching dramas to making student films so experimental that only he truly knows the meaning contained therein. With Container, it seemed as though he'd gone about as far as he could go, a rambling and self indulgent wallow in half-explained ideas that he freely admitted would alienate almost everyone who saw it.

But what of the handful who enjoyed it, what would they be seeing? Assuming Malone's cutie-pie voiceover doesn't drive them up the wall, they'll be trying to figure out the connection between the images and the talk, although there isn't one readily apparent. Is the woman on the soundtrack the inner voice of the fat bloke, and is he really the troubled soul that this would strongly hint at? Malone blethers away, sometimes indistinctly, naming various stars such as David Beckham and his wife (the Spice Girls are also awarded a mention), Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and Kylie Minogue, whose life-threatening illness points to another obsession with cancer which is worried over.

The title is explained by such examples as the Virgin Mary being the container for the child of God, the body being the container for disease, and the form of one gender being the container for the true personality of another. All the while the fat man cavorts around, lying in the bath wearing a dress, rummaging around garbage tips, and playing with dolls. It's almost a self parody of an art film, and some of it can be quite funny ("What is the point in having a cute little ass?"), though whether this is intentional is open to debate. It's too short - just over an hour - to be boring, though will probably test the patience of most viewers, but if you're wanting to apply your own intepretation to Moodysson's basking in his own current obsessions, then go ahead. Yet this kind of thing has been done more provocatively elsewhere, see the likes of Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures for a better and more explicit antecedent, and most will leave Container with a shrug.

[The Metrodome Region 2 DVD has a featurette with various explanations about what was going on as an extra, along with the trailer.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Lukas Moodysson  (1969 - )

Swedish writer-director who won international acclaim for his socially-conscious dramas: teenage romance Fucking Amal (aka Show Me Love), commune drama Together and the tragic Lilya 4-Ever. After the harrowing, controversial Hole In My Heart he turned even more experimental with the reviled Container, then the thematically ambitious Mammoth. However, he secured his best reaction in years with his 2013 feminist punk comedy We Are the Best!

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