Conte d’Amour – DNF

Conte d’Amour
Director: Markus Öhrn
Cast: Jakob Öhrman, Elmer Bäck, Rasmus Slätis, Anders Carlsson
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

A family home somewhere. In the basement we find that the father has locked up three children and we get to witness their twisted relationships. A take on the cases of the Fritzl family and Natascha Kampusch and the general possessive understanding of love we have.

Conte d’Amour is not a play, it’s a performance. That should have been my first warning sign. Unfortunately I ignored it, because I thought that the topic was really interesting and I myself have ranted about the “love equals possession” thing various times. But Conte d’Amour really does not work. It’s like the worst stereotypes about performances all rolled into one unbearable package.

The whole thing was set to last 3 hours without break (though the director himself told us that it would be okay if we wanted to take our own breaks while it was happening. My sister and me managed to stay for a little more than one hour before we gave up.

The whole thing starts out just plain boring. For the first 30 minutes or so, all we see is the father first “feeding” life-sized (female) dolls, then heading to the basement where he feeds his three prisoners with stuff from McDonalds in a very meticulous and obviously ritualized way. And then things really got out of control and became so incredibly absurd that I couldn’t help but laugh. And that is honestly not a topic I really want to laugh about.

But then one of the kids (I’m honestly unsure whether the children – all played by men – were playing male or female characters or if it mattered at all) started singing (inlcuding the usage of a fog machine that was the first thing that made me laugh), another one plays “thai” with the dad – meaning that he pulls back his eyelids (classy) and gives his father a massage and the third one starts exploring a female doll and almost gets a nervous breakdown when he comes to its vagina (which, honestly, was the best moment in the entire thing we’ve seen). It was around that time that we decided to leave.

It was incredibly exhausting to watch, boring and trying so hard to be artsy and meaningful that it was ultimately meaningless. I really did not get anything out of it and am damn glad that I had ice cream with my sister instead of suffering another 2 hours through that drivel.

Summarising: No. Just no.


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