A feature-length film is always a feat, and Fuertaventura is an impressive first feature film by Swedish filmmaker Mattias Sandström.
Explaining the plot is difficult, and that’s a favorable quality in my eyes. The film takes place sometime after the main character accidentally killed his girlfriend in a car accident in Sweden, and he is plagued by visions both of her spirit in his dreams and her doppelgänger in the Canary Island of Fuertaventura, whom he pursues to her great joy. The plot is such that we never can truly discern reality from fiction, and it does this well with a melding of dream sequences.
The characters are well-done. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the main character, who seemed to be able to be a drunk wreck and then go and socialize at a club with relative ease, but then as his character built and the relationship formed between himself and the doppelgänger I grew more and more intrigued in him. The acting is great, though. The actor who played the main character shows a wide range of emotion and ability, whose performance was equaled by the actress who played the dead girlfriend/doppelgänger and thus created two very different, natural feeling characters. Their relationship is interesting, and I enjoyed seeing the failure to communicate between his English and her Spanish, something I could personally relate to, though generally with other languages. Later on, I found it odd when they suddenly could understand each other and communicate, though, but this is perhaps explainable by showing that that part wasn’t real either.
It was well shot, with great surroundings and a very active camera, and it’s very well edited to give it an interesting stylized feel. There were occasional moments where I felt like camera flourishes were used to little effect and without much purpose, such as random quick focusing in and out, but overall it had beautiful visuals.
Fuertaventura is an interesting and complex first attempt at a feature, and is ultimately successful and well worth watching.
Showtimes for Fuertaventura:
Saturday, February 12, 2011, 9:15pm (Roxie Theatre)
Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 9:15pm (Roxie Theatre)