Remonstrance ★★★

A high-concept avant-garde comedy from Erik Løchen, who was apparently Norway's only modernist filmmaker.

The film is divided into five reels, but even though they're labelled as A, B, C, D and E, it is not neccesary to watch the movie in that order. In fact, the viewer is encouraged to randomize the "reels", or you can just pick your own order, meaning that there are 120 ways to watch this film. I've read that in 1972, it was originally projected as A-B-C-D-E, although the projectionist could choose to play the film differently.

Story-wise, it's a meta-film about a group of filmmakers who had set out to make a movie with the same gimmick as this one. Since their discussions are often about political anxiety, it's easy to make a connection between political uncertainty/the unclear reality of tomorrow and the film's own fractured form which invites the viewer to disregard the usual chronology of events. Quite similar to what Yoshida was doing with his political and meta-movie films, except this is very "ordered" and firm, as opposed to Yoshida's free-flowing, dream-logic approach. Remonstrance is also very playful with constant dry and ironic humor (a visual gag where a character draws a rectangle on the screen appears here 22 years before than in Pulp Fiction).

The "opening" scene ostensibly pokes fun at commercial cinema, but I can't help but feel that it's actually taking the piss out of the filmmakers of this very film: we see them acting all smart and yet they bluntly reveal the movie's general point and goal while simultaneously wanting the audience to unravel the movie's meaning themselves.

One issue I have with this movie is that the five "reels" aren't in fact all that interchangeable. In some ways they do follow the typical "cause and effect" procedure. For example, some events from the fifth reel directly follow from the fourth, which is confusing, but probably not in the same way that Løchen intended.

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