There comes a moment in everybody’s life when an incident that one had not anticipated a moment ago assumes momentous significance – even if it turns out to be inconsequential in retrospect – but the damage is done which cannot be reversed. A family’s vacation in the French Alps is suddenly disturbed by a seemingly dangerous avalanche when it is having lunch at an open-air restaurant. The young father runs away, leaving his family of two children and wife behind at the table, but he comes back to rejoin them when the avalanche stops short of reaching the restaurant and behaves as if nothing had happened. With a strong plot point like this, it is quite often difficult to follow it up in the rest of the film. But Ruben Östlund, the master that he is, sustains the dramatic tension built around the marital discord that the incident causes with an expert hand and gives us an astounding cinematic experience.
For those who have still not seen the film, FORCE MAJEURE (2014, Sweden) is streaming on MUBI.
Ranjan Das is aMumbai based filmmaker & faculty.