Lukas Moodysson’s Talk (1997)

lukas moodysson talk
Birger Andersson (Sten Ljunggren) is a retired Volvo employee that has nobody to talk to. Feeling lonely and isolated from society he visits his former workplace everyday in hopes that ex-colleagues might still have time for him. But everybody’s busy and nobody has time for a boring old man. Birger doesn’t give up. He starts randomly calling people in the phonebook, but soon that’s no fun either. Miraculously, a young Jehovah’s witness Hare Krishna recruiter, Mahapadu (Cecilia Frode), shows up at his door. Briger isn’t interested in religious talk, but he is looking for companionship. After a couple minutes Mahapadu realizes she probably won’t make a new disciple and decides to leave, but Birger has something else in mind. 

Swedish auteur Lukas Moodysson is slowly but surely becoming one of my new favorite filmmakers. Talk is his third short film, preceding his smash hit feature film debut Show Me Love. Already at this stage, this feels very much like a Moodysson film and it also presents some of the same themes and issues that he’s interested in exploring throughout his career. Moodysson, as a spiritual person himself, is trying to comment on religion and being also interested in trends he picks a flavor of the week in Hare Krishna. Youth, is another subject that fascinates Moodysson. Birger is an aging man, he has lost touch with youths: They’re not interested in talking to him. They find him creepy and repellent and old.

The irony of Bara prata lite (literally translated: “Just talk a little”) is that all the main character wants is someone to talk to. Birger hasn’t had a real conversation in so long he seems to have forgotten the difference between dialogue and monologue. When he bumps into Mahapadu, who’s only interested in an ideological, pre-packaged brainwashing monologue, and doesn’t want to listen to his needy ramblings, it’s clear from that the “relationship” is doomed from the start. Birger is trying to force others to talk to him, just like Mahapadu is forcing her religion on Birger. What’s also interesting is that Mahapadu is trying to offer him the solution to “life’s big questions”, not realizing that the only cure to loneliness is having someone to talk to. So maybe Moodysson is trying to say, that instead of trying to find an answer to unanswerable questions, all we really need is someone by our side.

Rating on First Viewing
(on my laptop)
7.5 out of 10


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