Something Must Break
'It should smell of strong emotions', Bergsmark has said of his debut. And it does, this love story set in Stockholm in summer, between androgynous Sebastian (who likes to dress as 'superwoman' Ellie) and Andreas, who is not gay. Together against the smoothed-over, blunted IKEA society.
Two kids, the big city. The city is Stockholm, not seen here as a collection of tourist attractions, but on the fringes: deserted industrial areas, grubby clubs, badly maintained parks. And then there are the kids. The gay Sebastian dresses as a woman and often seeks danger in his sexual adventures with strangers. When things nearly go wrong in a public toilet, there is Andreas - a guardian angel in a scruffy leather jacket. Even though Andreas isn’t gay, the attraction between them turns out to be more powerful than any labels.
Director Ester Martin Bergsmark was inspired by the cult novel You Are the Roots That Sleep Beneath My Feet and Hold the Earth in Place by his partner Eli Levén, with and about whom he had previously made the hybrid documentary She Male Snails. But he also bases it on his own experiences as a transgender.
Bergsmark captures the turbulent relationship between Sebastian and Andreas in energetic, jumpy punk images that mesh with the underground in which their lives are set, but juxtaposes these with dreamy sequences filled with images of nature, focusing on the awakening of Sebastian’s other identity. The result is an intimate and energetic picture of people looking for who they can be and are allowed to be.