FAMILY FRAMING AND THE COMEDY OF CONVENTIONS IN RUBEN ÖSTLUND’S FORCE MAJEURE
Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure (2014) centres around a Swedish family vacationing at a ski resort in the Alps. The film depicts how the family breaks down after the father leaves his wife and children behind while fleeing from a possible avalanche. This breakdown is reflected in the film’s use of framing. In the opening scenes, the viewer is presented with a series of family portraits. After the averted disaster, the family is no longer shown as a coherent whole. Framing in Force Majeure is thus as a technical as well as a thematic matter related to the film’s exploration of the nuclear family. Framing is also connected to the comedic characterization of the family that the film depicts. Rather than identifying with them, the viewer is invited to critically reflect upon their self-image and their actions. The focus of this essay is therefore the concept of framing in connection with the film’s theme of family and certain comedic conventions. Force Majeure is symmetrically structured and the narrative progression adheres to a traditional plot-pattern moving from the disruption of order to the restoration of order. Yet, the film also flaunts its structure and makes the viewer aware of the clichés of conventional storytelling as these clichés and conventions are reproduced in the lives of the main characters.
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