Collecting the prestigious Tiger Award at its Rotterdam debut, Something Must Break elevates the typically generic romance of young love to liberating new heights. A spectacular visual storyteller, director Ester Martin Bergsmark finds honesty in the lead characters and beauty beneath the dark grit of Stockholm’s edges.
Alienated and lovelorn, Sebastian (Saga Becker) longs for intimacy and genuine connection—or even just a good romp to quell the hunger of loneliness. Hesitant to explore a feminine side, Sebastian embraces broader terms when it comes to gender identity, sometimes preferring to be called Ellie. However, being Ellie presents a challenge in some situations, particularly in the men’s room. Enter Andreas (performance artist Iggy Malmborg), a straight-identified punk who bursts onto the scene as something of a brooding savior when he rescues Sebastian from a violent assault in a public bathroom. Slowly, the two commence a dark and tumultuous relationship and Ellie rushes to the fore.
Along with Becker and co-writer Eli Levén, Bergsmark identifies as Trans. The director is best known for the documentaryShe Male Snails, an artistic portrait of Levén inspired by Levén’s semi-autobiographical novel You Are the Roots That Sleep Beneath My Feet and Hold the Earth in Place. That film garnered flattering comparisons to the work of departed filmmaker, artist and gay rights activist Derek Jarman. Drawing once again from Levén’s award-winning novel for Something Must Break, Bersmark seems poised to earn more effusive praise.