Kristoffer Borgli… under examination

Kristoffer Borgli's Eer

Kristoffer Borgli is an infectious film director. Depending on the plot of the film and the mood of the viewer who sees it, the effect of the infection can be very different, going from genuine laughter to disgust and even incomprehension. It also varies for other reasons, for example, depending on the duration of the work or, going a little further, on the viewer’s interaction with his filmography. In my case I can even notice the tingling. An initial sensation that can end in laughter, but can also end in a chill. At the time, after watching Sick of Myself, I referred to it as a very enjoyable toxic film.

Kristoffer Borgli in Eer

Reading the plots of part of his filmography and watching some of his films (long and short), one can think that Kristoffer Borgli is an observer who reflects on the state of art, societies and, above all, the level of current exhibition in the modern world. How we fit our pieces into it and how other people’s pieces fit into us. The false within the real and the reality that we do not know when it is true, taken to uncomfortable and unsuspected limits, but above all twisted. That’s why one can’t avoid the tickling, between laughter at the excess and the chill at the inner layer of reality behind it. Because it is an everyday reality in which each exaggeration places more emphasis on the absurdity it entails, on how chaotic everything around us is sometimes. Like the saying that, if it itches, do not scratch yourself, but adapted to our more social times, making it clear that, as a filmmaker, Borgli is a great exponent of the “randomness.”

Eer, the short film before Sick of Myself and Dream Scenario

Eer, a short film less than 9 minutes long, is a good example of infection. Not only from the figurative point of view, but also from the literal point of view. A scenario in which everyone is weird, disgusting and delusional in their own way, but where you are only unpleasant towards the end (at least when it comes to personal treatment). Borgli brings forth, like a nosebleed, quite a few absurd ideas that fit with references to the real world, although, as happened in some sections of Sick of Myself (to which I resort because of what one can see here of it), he is not always able to form a coherent message. In any case, precisely thanks to its short duration, Eer manages to make all those ideas —narcissism, freedom, pseudosciences— that appear interesting, tragicomic and unclassifiable, not caring so much where the initial premise ends up —if there is one— as the content of each scene matters and, especially, the dialogues, which the juxtaposition helps make even funnier and the grotesque images help elevate some ideas beyond senseless blood.

Alia Shawkat in Eer

On the other hand, and as almost always in these cases, Kristoffer Borgli’s criticism walks a fine line that, for the moment, is balanced, although in the way that Mr. Burns’s health is: because of the excess, the accumulation and abundance everywhere. Without being subtle at all, it doesn’t take the viewer for a fool either. It is explicitly satirical and biting, which makes his filmography even more unusual and strange, because, at the same time, almost all of his ideas are open to interpretation. It gets to the point, but allowing you to draw your own conclusions through a trail of nervous laughter, incomprehension, curiosity and references to the real world that are quite scary (seen from his perspective). A ‹rara avis›, although perhaps not so much within the current Scandinavian spectrum.

I watched and rated Eer ★★★½ on Saturday Feb 24, 2024.

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