Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Alva is very much a film of two halves - the preparation for a couple's first-born, and the resultant devastation after complications at the birth of the baby Alva of the title. It deals with everyday events, and with the self-induced rituals a society uses to help these poor souls deal with their pain.

Director Marius Dybwad Brandrud's visual strategy in the first half involves a glacially paced series of left-to-right shots. A couple chatter about the menial day-to-day events of life - we share time with them and their family, gleaning the story passively. Faces of the couple are obscured by the framing, and out-of-focus camerawork - quite deliberately. We exert no more influence on the movie than a spirit. When the camera becomes handheld in the hospital, it lends a sense of urgency. Seeing the couple in full, sharp focus, and obviously distressed is startling.

The central performances by Lotta Karlge and Johan Ehn are terrific - superbly tender, loving and enraged at their loss. They grieve, heal and cut each other with cold, concise language in petty arguments. It is wonderful acting, invisible and empathetic.

The film has only one real flaw - the visit to the assigned psychiatrist provides a simplified cheat-sheet for how the audience is supposed to feel for the couple. Watching the movie is all we really need to do.

Otherwise - an excellent film.

Reviewed on: 18 Aug 2007
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Tragedy strikes a couple expecting their first child. Showing at the EIFF 2007 as part of European Shorts 1.

Director: Marius Dybwad Brandrud

Writer: Marius Dybwad Brandrud

Starring: Lotta Karlge, Johan Ehn

Year: 2007

Runtime: 29 minutes

Country: 2007


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