Border (2018 Swedish film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ali Abbasi|
by John Ajvide Lindqvist
|Distributed by||TriArt Film|
Border (Swedish: Gräns) is a 2018 Swedish fantasy film directed by Ali Abbasi with a screenplay by Abbasi, Isabella Eklöf and John Ajvide Lindqvist based on the short story of the same name by Ajvide Lindqvist from his anthology Let the Old Dreams Die. It won the Un Certain Regard award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. However, it was nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 91st Academy Awards.
Tina works for the Swedish customs office, using her unusual ability to sniff out guilt and shame to detect contraband. She suffers from facial deformities that give her a rather Neanderthalic appearance, and lives a fairly isolated life. She lives in a secluded house in the woods with Roland, who is a dog trainer. One day at the border, Tina manages to uncover a memory card full of child pornography. Her boss wonders how she knew to look for it, and Tina tells her about the special smelling ability. The boss asks her to help their investigation into who filmed the pornography.
The next day, a strange man walks through customs, and Tina asks to inspect his bag. He has a similar facial structure to Tina. The bag is full of maggots and a device that he claims is a maggot incubator. Tina lets him pass, but he returns again soon, and volunteers to be searched. He is taken into a back room to be searched more thoroughly. Another officer does a strip search of him, but discovers that "he" actually has female genitalia. Tina is taken aback when she hears the person also has a large scar on his tailbone. Tina asks him who he is; he tells her his name is Vore and that he will be staying in a nearby hostel.
Tina visits her father, who does not have the same appearance, in his nursing home to ask about her scar, and is told she fell on something as a small child. She is intrigued by Vore and visits the hostel, where she finds him eating maggots off a tree. He offers her one, and she eats it. She offers that he stays in her guest house. Tina brings him to the room, where he tries to kiss her, but she doesn't let him. Roland is immediately suspicious of Vore.
Tina uses her nose to sniff out the apartment where the pedophiles live, and inside finds a camera with footage of an infant baby being raped. The police arrest the residents, but cannot track down the person trafficking the babies seen in the videos.
During a thunderstorm, Vore comes into Tina's house, and the two of them huddle under a table, terrified of the lightning that repeatedly strikes the house. The two of them finally kiss. On a walk after the storm, Tina confesses that she has a chromosome deformity which makes it difficult to have sex and impossible to bear children. Vore tells her that it's not a deformity, and she should ignore what humans say about her. They make love, and Tina is surprised when a strange penis grows out of her, which she uses to mount Vore. Afterward, Vore tells Tina that she is a troll, just like he is.
Tina is excited by her newfound identity, and begins living more like a troll. She finally has the confidence to tell Roland to move out of her house. She notices that Vore has taped his fridge shut and finds within it a cardboard box with a strange baby inside. Vore tells Tina that the baby is actually a Hiisit, an unfertilized troll embryo that will soon die. But in secret Vore plans to use the Hiisit as a changeling, and is waiting to replace a real human infant with the dying troll embryo.
While one of the pedophile suspects is being transferred to another prison, Vore stops the van and murders the suspect. Tina chases him down to question him. Vore admits he had to murder the man before he could tell the police that Vore was in fact the one helping supply babies to be used as rape victims in porn. He tells her that very soon the trolls will get their revenge on humans for all the trolls they tortured in the '70's. Tina is upset by this, and believes that vengeance won't solve their problems.
The next day, Tina's neighbors call for an ambulance because something is wrong with their baby; she has been replaced by the changeling (unbeknownst to her parents who believe the changeling is their actual child who is dying). Tina suspects Vore is behind this and goes to the guest house, but all of Vore's belongings are gone, and a note tells Tina to meet him on the ferry. She finds him on the deck of the ferry, and tells him that the fact that she believes in compassion doesn't mean she is a human: trolls are capable of compassion too. She signals police to close in and arrest him, but he, although already having been handcuffed, manages to jump overboard.
Tina's father visits from the nursing home, and finally tells her the truth about her past. He used to work at a psychiatric hospital where trolls were tortured and experimented on, and he adopted Tina (whose real troll name was Reva) to raise her as a human. Her real parents died long ago, and he tells her where they are buried.
A few months later, Tina finds a mysterious parcel on her porch. Inside is a troll baby and a postcard from a troll community in Finland.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2019)
John Ajvide Lindqvist wrote the first draft of the screenplay, and then Abassi hired Isabella Eklöf to add more "psychological realism" to the story. Casting for the film took 18 months. To transform into the character of Tina, Eva Melander gained a considerable amount of weight and wore prosthetics that took four hours each day to apply.
Border screened at Cannes, where it won the 2018 Un Certain Regard award, Telluride, and the Toronto International Film Festival. The director Ali Abbasi holds an Iranian passport, which could have prevented him from traveling to the United States due to the travel ban, but he was granted a rare exception to attend the Telluride Festival.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2018)
The film has received favorable reviews, and currently has an approval rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 86 reviews. Alissa Simon of Variety described the film as "an exciting, intelligent mix of romance, Nordic noir, social realism, and supernatural horror that defies and subverts genre conventions," and Stephen Dalton of Hollywood Reporter wrote, "A couple of sharp curveball additions to Lindqvist’s original plot also elevate Border beyond genre trappings and into stranger, sadder, more generally relatable territory."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Academy Awards||24 February 2019||Best Makeup and Hairstyling||Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer||Nominated|||
|Cannes Film Festival||8–19 May 2018||Un Certain Regard Award||Ali Abbasi||Won|||
|Guldbagge Awards||28 January 2019||Best Film||Nina Bisgaard, Piodor Gustafsson and Petra Jönsson (Producers)||Won|||
|Best Director||Ali Abbasi||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Eva Melander||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Eero Milonoff||Won|
|Best Screenplay||Ali Abbasi, Isabella Eklöf and John Ajvide Lindqvist||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Olivia Neergaard-Holm and Anders Skov||Nominated|
|Best Sound Editing||Christian Holm||Won|
|Best Makeup and Hair||Göran Lundström, Pamela Goldammer and Erica Spetzig||Won|
|Best Visual Effects||Peter Hjorth||Won|
- List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Swedish submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- "Border". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
- "Gräns". The Numbers. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
- Lodge, Guy (18 May 2018). "Cannes: 'Border' Leads Un Certain Regard Award Winners". Variety. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- Roxborough, Scott (28 August 2018). "Oscars: Sweden Selects 'Border' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- "Oscars 2019: The nominees in full". BBC News. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
- Mitchell, Wendy (10 May 2018). "Director Ali Abbasi on how Cannes title 'Border' channels "the experience of being a minority"". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
- "Ali ABBASI - Festival de Cannes 2018". Festival de Cannes 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
- Kohn, Eric (1 September 2018). "Iranian Filmmaker Is Reportedly the First From His Country to Gain Exception to Trump Travel Ban — Telluride". IndieWire. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- "Border (Gräns)2018". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
- Simon, Alissa (11 May 2018). "Cannes Film Review: 'Border'". Variety. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
- Dalton, Stephen (10 May 2018). "'Border' ('Gräns') : Film Review - Cannes 2018". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
- "Nominerade 2018" (in Swedish). Guldbaggen.se. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
- "De är nominerade till Guldbaggen 2019". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 3 January 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
- Farran-Lee, Lydia (28 January 2019). "Gräns årets bästa film". SVT (in Swedish). Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- Lundin, Caroline; Hill, Siri (28 January 2019). "Guldbaggegalan – här är alla vinnare". SVT (in Swedish). Retrieved 28 January 2019.