Visually arresting and very adult, Swedish director Johannes Nyholm’s devilishly devised folktale focuses on a grieving couple’s infinite camping trip from hell.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Full of indelible imagery and haunting déjà vu, this pitch-black fable depicting grief as a psychological nightmare follows a bereaved couple, three years after suffering an unimaginable loss. Attempting to repair their strained marriage on a camping trip, Elin (Ylva Gallon) and Tobias (Leif Edlund) instead find themselves at the mercy of a trio of dark fairytale characters: a menacing goliath; a sinister woman with a vicious dog on a leash; and the ringleader, a homicidal dandy resplendent in a bowler hat. As Elin and Tobias are tormented over and over again in a forest they can’t escape from, director Johannes Nyholm slyly introduces moments of animation and puppetry – including hypnotic cutaways of paper-marionette rabbits – that strikingly parallel the couple’s life. Their ordeal is emotionally wrenching but also strangely poetic, and only by healing their relationship can they exorcise their trauma – and the demons baying for blood. Koko-di Koko-da is humorous and nihilistic, beguiling and repulsive in equal measure – and just like the titular nursery rhyme heard on loop throughout the film, never forgotten. — AT