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patrik 1.4

(103 min)
AB Sevenska Filmindustrie
Directed by Ella Lemhagen
Review by Carl Macki

Goran, Sven and Patrik
Göran (Gustaf Skarsgård)), Sven (Torkel Petersson), and Patrik (Thomas Ljungman)

Shown at the Toronto FIlm Festival, Frameline, London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival,
and the Inside Out Film andVideo Festival.

Also Won Rosebud Awarded as Best Feature Film at Verzaubert,
the Internation Gay and Lesbian FIlm Festival

This is a funny movie. It is corny in spots, but never badly slips as it walks down the stairs.

The quality of production is stellar -- it's Ingmar Bergman's old film company after all -- and the three main characters are like we are watching a real family.

Some may complain that this is a trite complicated situration covered by many other indie films. I don't know. It worked for me. I enjoyed the way the film unfolded.
Göran is a doctor and is married to Sven, who works in an office. (Sven is kinda reminiscent of a gay Swedish version of Larry the Cable Guy.)

While G
öran  passionately wants a son,  Sven is not enthusiastic, and not quite certain what they are getting into, but both agree to adopt a baby.

Swedish Social Sevices have put them on track to be adoptive parents. They get a letter from the agency offering them "Patrik, Age 1.5," an orphan.
They agree and you already see a video camera in the new nursery of their comfortable middle class row home in an unspecified suburb.

On the day of arrival, a tousle-haired fifteen-year old shows up. In several scenes, his haicut looks like a Mohawk that has grown out.

He tells the couple that his name is Patrik and that he has been sent by Social Services to live with them.  They don't know what to make of this!

When Göran and Sven go to the Social Services office to complain, the clerk tells them they do not right to know details of Patrik's past.

Sven storms th e cubicle where the clerk is working and pulls the the information file from the computer and prints it up and the two flee the office.

It turns out that Patrik has been in trouble with the law in his short years. That doesn't stop him from hateful judgements of his new parents.
Göran and Sven have to bide their time it being the weekend.

Where Göran tries to befriend Patrik, Sven gets more estranged from the two.  When Göran finds out  that Patrik is a talented gardener,
something he learned in the foster home,  and has been helping the neighbors, Göran hires him to help out in their own yard.

Göran and Sven eventually find out that a clerical error led to the misreporting of Patrik's age. Instead of age 15, the age was reported as 1.5. This may have been a con
-- it's unstated--Göran thinks it's okay for Patrik to stay until Social Services find another family to adopt the adolescent, but Sven decides
that he cannot live with Patrik any more, and leaves Göran.

When Sven wants to come back a few days later, Göran will not take him back. Göran and Patrik continue to bond, and when Patrik is finally offered a new family,
Göran is not sure that he wants to let him go.

Eventually all three end up in one happy family.

There are some great scenes. Like one where Göran is having a conversation with a drunken neighbor who alludes to an imaginary sexual relationship between 
Göran and the boy, so Göran flips the lout over his shoulder and onto a bunch of big pebbles  by the neighbor's driveway. This judo move is out of character
but it one that Patrik earlier taught him.

It is fascinating to see how another country handles gay marriage, and also how muck Sweden is still like the United States. Although Sweden is very progressive
on the issue, it appears that they have a few dark clouds in their sky. For Social Services, gay marriage is not as fully 'legit' as a hetero one,
otherwise why is a 'troubled-making' teen like Patrik 'dumped' onto two male parents?

I realize the issues may be complex and this is a comedy -- not to be taken too seriously. It is an entertaining look at a social issue
that is affecting the world's cultures and strongly shows up on the right side of the situation.

 "Little Joe," the exciting new film on Joe Dallesandro by Nicole Hausser, was shown at the Castro late last month. See the review of it by Sharla Cartner in this issue. Be on the lookout for it at preferred art house cinemas and festivals or as a DVD.

Joe dallesandro

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