In her bold, biting and unnervingly entertaining film recounting schoolyard misery, Swedish artist Anna Odell shows exactly why her high school class chose not to invite her to their 20th anniversary reunion.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
This genre-defying film about the social dynamics of the schoolyard is biting, uncomfortable and unnervingly funny. Notorious in Sweden for her staged disruptions of bourgeois comfort – not least a faked mental breakdown – artist Anna Odell might easily speculate why she was not invited to the 20th anniversary reunion of her high school class. In the first half of The Reunion she does just that, dramatising the reunion dinner as the car wreck her classmates must have feared it would be with her at it. In scenes reminiscent of Vinterberg’s Celebration, she plays herself, chiming into the sanctimonious toasts with tales of her own miserable school days. As indignation around the table grows, so does her determination to remind all present what bullies and cowards they once were. It’s a thrilling performance and an alarmingly entertaining short drama. The second part of The Reunion is a pseudo-documentary in which she tries to show the first part to her old schoolmates. Has her scathing depiction of them made her the new bully? Their offended responses suggest that the will to quash the disaffected is not confined to the schoolyard – and may not even originate there.