Vassilis Economou skrifar á Cineuropa um Undir trénu Hafsteins Gunnars Sigurðssonar og segir hana þurra og dökka háðsádeilu um niðurbrot félagslegra og persónulegra samskipta.
How absurd could it be that the shade generated by a tree becomes the trigger for a serious conflict? That could easily be the core of Under the Tree’s story, which Huldar Breiðfjörð wrote and Sigurðsson adapted for the screen using his well-known blend of dry and almost deadpan humour, with added dramatic elements. Having said that, this time, he takes proceedings to a way darker and more bitter place by forgoing the lighter undertones of his previous work. With his satire, Sigurðsson seems determined to dismantle the urban, civilised comme il faut attitude, and he unleashes a social jungle ignited by conflicts, where no one can stand anyone. Certainly, this is an exaggerated and overexposed depiction of our enforced co-existence, but it could also depict the truth that lies behind the middle-class veneer.
Exploring the philosophy behind the “not in my back yard” phenomenon, which has killed off any kind of social convention, Sigurðsson takes it to extremes. Everything and everyone should conform to a constant level of perfectionism or be expelled, starting with personal relationships that should never display any hint of a flaw, or otherwise be terminated, and ending with the perfect level of “enduring thy neighbour”. When this unnatural connection with people is lost, then only moments of social awkwardness can follow. If Sigurðsson’s caricatures manage to conquer society, then we will be faced with immature citizens who don’t acknowledge any kind of limits, especially when they are planning a slow-burning revenge on their “enemies”. Unfortunately, there is a slight repetitiveness in the story, which seemingly muddies the film, even if everything is already so horrifyingly clear to the viewer. Luckily, the rapid escalation of violent events proves to be the key to unlocking the narration, along with the solid performances by the protagonists. In the end, Under the Tree reveals our lack of ability to communicate in a common language; in fact, it proves that our communication is just a broken series of parallel monologues. Thus, a discussion on drainage supplies can easily be disrupted by revelations on masturbation, as Bach’s choral works get shuffled up with GusGus’ electronica.
Sjá nánar hér: Under the Tree : Destroy thy neighbour – Cineuropa