Monday, 17 October 2016

BFI London Film Festival - Two Lovers and a Bear

Two lovers and bear walk into a bar with an octopus...

I believe the film earns its title/name from this bizarre joke or the joke was made up for the film, either way the joke is odd but funny and in some way irrelevant to the story.

 Roman (Dane DeHaan) and Lucy (Tatiana Maslany) are lovers. They live in a town in North Canada. They depend on each other as support, company and for warmth. Both have their own past demon that haunts them, having suffered abuse when they were younger, while they are separated, they fall, but together they are stronger. After an argument that almost tears them apart, they can’t be without the other so decide to head South together on their snowmobiles into the unknown. 

Kim Nguyen's film, described as a 'passionate story of a tortured romance' takes place in one of the coldest places on Earth. The filming took place in Canada and in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, which felt like familiar ground after watching Fortitude. A frozen town where two lovers have a passionate affair, both damaged from past experiences. Ghosts of the past seem to reappear, as they are unable to let them go. The cold and harrowing surroundings seem to be the polar opposite to the two lovers who at time seem to burn to bright and too quickly. 

The bear of the title is one that seems to be following Roman as a spirit and guidance but doesn’t appear enough to be as helpful as a Jiminy Cricket type character. While others see the bears as a threat, to Roman, it’s just a bear as he can speak to them. This fact is brought up a few times and casually combed over. There is not explanation along with this gift of his and in some ways its not needed. The fact he can means that the only threat out there in the wilderness to the lovers is their imaginations and past traumas. 

 At a few points in the story, I wasn’t sure where it was going but once the film ended, with the inevitable and tragic last scene, I understood what the film meant as whole. It is a passionate love story where the characters give each other hope and salvation and the bear, well, he was along for the journey.

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