This 2003 from the same writer and director as ‘Patrik, Age 1.5’ is a lot of fun. It tells the story of two children who have to travel across Sweden because their parents have split. Martin has to fly to the Norwegian border and Julia has to go to Malmo. At the airport they meet and discover they have an amazing physical similarity. Rather than go on a journey they are dreading they swap places and head off to each other’s destination.
Martin pretends to be a girl and Julia becomes Martin. Amanda Davin plays both roles but the character of each is distinct; Julia is more outgoing than Martin. However, their respective parents do not notice the swap and the comedy of the film comes from the difficult situations each child finds him/herself in when confronted with the realities of the other. Martin disguised as Julia is not best pleased to discover he has to be a bridesmaid and Julia has to find a cover story when, disguised as Martin, she is discovered in girls’ pants.
Further gender issues are explored in the film. Martin is a musical prodigy but his father wants an athlete for a son. Julia is more of a tomboy but her mother wants a ladylike and refined daughter. Negotiating the borders of identity the film very cleverly shows the effect expectations of others have on people.
‘Tur och Retur’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?