Are We Lost Forever ****
Starring: Björn Elgerd, Jonathan Andersson, Micki Stoltt, Nemanja Stojanovic
Director: David Färdmar
Back in 2018, director David Färdmar released the short film No More We about two men breaking up. I described it back then as “a painful watch for anyone who has been through something similar” and now, Färdmar has developed this short into a full feature film and the result is equally – if not more – excruciating. Messy, complicated and unpleasant, this is a well-crafted and astutely observed movie that is really not easy viewing.
Adrian (Elgerd) and Hampus (Andersson) have been in a destructive relationship for a long time. When Hampus finally ends it, he finds it liberating at first, but Adrian is absolutely devastated. Initially they have to tackle the logistical issues of their separation - moving out of their apartment and dividing their belongings – but it’s only when the dust begins to settle that Hampus begins to feel the psychological fall-out too. They both take tentative steps away from each other, going on dates and hooking up with strangers, but their lives have been so emotionally entwined that they find it impossible to rip off the band-aid and make a clean break away from each other.
It’s that inability to fully separate that really drives this movie. In deciding to still be friends, Adrian and Hampus have made it impossible to move on, meeting for coffees and even agreeing to have sex occasionally. Their friends realise just how chaotic the break-up has become, but when one of them actually does move on and meets someone else, the other is left shell-shocked because the norm created by their continued contact still resembles some form of their past relationship.
Seeing the break-up through the eyes of Adrian, both parties seem callous at times, but we (the audience) are positioned in a precarious a standpoint, just as invested in their reconciliation as in their separation too. Just like the characters, we don’t know what is best for them; to be together or to be apart. It is testament to both the intense subtlety of its performances and the steady observational lens of its director that we feel so caught up in the mess ourselves.
Played out against the stark white walls of their apartments, there are times the film feels anthropological, observing their behaviour with an unflinching detachment, only for us to be thrust back into its emotional centre as they articulate their feelings with sometimes guttural clarity.
It’s a good idea to have watched the original short film beforehand – which is included in the release from Peccadillo – to compliment the narrative with its initial context, but Are We Lost Forever stands alone as a painful – almost to salt-rubbing-in-the-wound levels – rumination on just how difficult it is to separate from someone that you truly love. And with a fairly ambiguous ending that leaves their story far from over, you can’t help get the impression that this won’t be the last time we see Hampus and Adrian on screen…
UK Release: 18th January on DVD and On Demand, released by Peccadillo Pictures. Click here for more info.
Release includes David Färdmar’s collection of short films, including the original No More We.