Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
In Johannes Nyholm’s (The Giant, VIFF 15) ethereal drama, a grieving couple’s waning love for one another is severely tested as their tense camping trip transforms into a hypnotic nightmare. Hunted through the woods by a psychopathic ringmaster, his sadistic sideshow assistants, and their bloodthirsty dog, Tobias (Leif Edlund) and Elin (Ylva Gallon) are haunted, humiliated, and, well, killed over and over as the night loops endlessly.
Nyholm is an expert at building discomfort, especially through jolting smash cuts of chillingly distant aerial shots that punctuate each violent time loop. Suffused with folkloric imagery and book-ended by macabre shadow puppet theatre-style interludes, the film bleeds dream into reality to mesmerizing effect, while Peter Belli gives a terrifying slapstick performance as the carnivalesque nursery rhyme-chanting ringmaster. A twisted fairy tale with humanist underpinnings, Koko-Di Koko-Da plays on adult fears: the devastation that follows unthinkable loss and the heartbreaking ways in which love may fade. Though these woods are rife with danger, Tobias and Elin’s greatest torment may come from one another.