Something Must Break
"Something Must Break," from director Esther Bergsmark, has a lot in common with a lot of other movies traveling the festival circuit: It’s a love story, it’s about an "out" character falling for a more repressed man and the challenges that creates, its shot with handheld cameras. Yet there’s something about this film -- a provocative nature, not just in its frank depictions of sex but in its whole anti-bourgeois worldview -- that separates it from its brethren. This one’s a lot angrier.
The film opens up with Sebastian, but the the end of the film, we know that same character as Ellie. Her gender identity is transitioning, and so is everything else in her life after meeting Andreas, a leather-clad-biker type who saves Sebastian from a beating (from a different, bigoted man) in a club bathroom. From there we get a semi-typical one-person-coming-out-thanks-to-ethereal-other-character narrative, but the bite’s a lot stronger: Sex scenes even aim to be shocking, at some points, to some, with the two men -- both transitioning their positions in life -- working themselves into religious poses while they fuck.
At the end of the day, though, it’s none of the gender concerns or even rebellious moments that are most striking about the picture. It’s more the naked eye with which Bergsmark shoots the two men: She’s got a definite fascination with the human body (and all the fluids it produces), and sees no reason not to rub our faces in it. It’s not just the naked bodies (and the sex, and the watersports, and so on), but also built into the use of blood in the fight scenes, and pretty much the rest of the movie too. Here’s the rare movie about sex and love that realizes and depicts how damn messy the process is, figuratively and literally.