“Don’t change a winning recipe”
What’s the age cut-off for friendship? It’s an interesting notion to consider because at a certain point a noticeable difference becomes intrinsically pedophilic in the eyes of society. Where a neighbor can befriend someone young as a babysitter, alternate parental figure, etc., as soon as the child hits puberty the platonic nature of the relationship changes. From inside it’s the same because the years have merely gone by. From the outside, however, what would have once been ignored becomes scrutinized. And while the adult has the maturity level to understand it will always be a harmless union, the child isn’t so stable. Not only could his/her sense of friendship grow into a love of respect and possibly convenience, but the quick ridicule from others his/her age will also threaten to instantly taint his/her own mindset.
This is the philosophical and emotional dilemma at the center of Caroline Ingvarsson‘s Under Rymdskeppet [Beneath the Spaceship]. It depicts this change on a seemingly innocuous day like any other where Julie’s (Selma Modéer Viking) mother allows her to visit Paul (Per Lasson) across the way. She arrives to cut his hair for the payment of his taking her out in his car for driving lessons. It’s a day that wouldn’t demand a second glance had it been a teen and her father or uncle. It doesn’t garner a second glance from us either until Julie’s innocence travels too far. Drawing a map on Paul’s leg, she approaches a realm that’s hardly appropriate. But while his surprise and horror cause him to jolt up and walk away, you wonder if he’d have reacted the same two years prior.
Is it because Julie’s no longer youthfully androgynous? Does Paul himself aroused or fear she might? While a minor hiccup exposing the cracks in society’s microscopic gaze upon them, it’s still a personal development space and time can heal. When Julie’s older cousin (Vala Norén) projects sexuality on them to make the young girl uncomfortable by blatantly flirting out of interest or the playful desire to make her jealous, however, the entire affair blows up. The awkwardness of Paul joining these teens for a day by the water causes he and Julie to wish the Death Star they joked about destroying Earth so they could start anew would come. It does to an extent, but not the way their idyllic natures originally hoped. Their new beginning staring back potentially becomes one where they can never be together again.
Courtesy of TIFF