An artist hires a famous actor, and several performers to play their respective alter egos, to live in a film studio with cameras running in this hard-edged social satire of filmmaking and gender deconstruction that blurs the lines between fiction and reality.
Mikael Persbrandt arrives to a casting interview, open and willing to immerse himself in ambitious artistic endeavors. When exposed to artist Anna Odell's vision, he is a bit uneasy, but noticeably intrigued. Odell is piecing together an experiment aimed at revealing her and Persbrandt's true selves, portrayed by not only the two of them, but also four more actors hired to play their alter egos. Upon arriving on set, the unconventional nature of Odell's creative process becomes vividly apparent; actress Trine Dyrholm is the first to show suspicion of Odell after the artist's repeated stern request to remain in character from now until the undetermined end of the experimental phase of this strange and unusual film. In unconventional fashion, X&Y unravels as the boundless artistic side of Anna, played by the Swedish director herself, is driven to discover her and Persbrandt's pure innermost selves, shattering gender boundaries and mingling between the parameters of fiction and reality within the seemingly established norms of a movie studio. Her character's relentless and scriptless approach causes unsettling confusion among her subjects while pushing some of them to the brink of their professionalism. Hindered by a lack of visible direction and a concrete outcome, Persbrandt and the fellow actors begin to question their presence on set and Odell's true intentions.
Anna Odell is a Swedish conceptual artist and film director. In 2009, her graduation work, Unknown Woman 2009-349701, was an intervention in the public space. She staged a psychotic attack on the Stockholm bridge, and was taken away by the police to the psychiatric hospital. The take on the mental health institution made the headline of all Swedish newspapers as a case of the critical art gone too far. In contrast to many other critical artists, in her work the investigations get a twist of a cinematic form and a subversive humor.
Sponsored by First Sight Productions, KING 5
- Director: Anna Odell
- Principal Cast: Anna Odell, Mikael Persbrandt, Vera Vitali, Shanti Roney, Trine Dyrholm, Jens Albinus, Thure Lindhardt, Sofie Grabol
- Country: Sweden, Denmark
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 112 minutes
- Producer: Frida Bargo, Mattias Nohrborg
- Screenplay: Anna Odell, Jakob Beckman
- Cinematographers: Daniel Takacs
- Editors: Kristin Grundstrom, Hanna Lejonqvist
- Music: Gustaf Berger, Markus Hasselblom
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: The Reunion (2013)
- Language: Swedish, Danish
- Has Subtitles: Yes
- Format: DCP
- International Sales: New Europe Film Sales