European cinema can be fun, too.
The variety of films we’ve watched in this class has ranged from the slightly strange (A Woman is a Woman) to the absolutely absurd (Holy Motors). From films in the sixties to the more contemporary films – from films that don’t make sense (and aren’t meant to) to simply beautiful human stories exploring themes of love, family, and history, European cinema has expressed its range and versatility, and an ability to define itself in the universal cinematic universe by standing out in whatever way it deems appropriate. While Heavy Trip may initially seem to fall into the latter category of film, premised on a simple story of a heavy metal brand trying to make its way in the musical world, it nonetheless retains characteristics other make it distinctly European, distinstly odd, and distinctly memorable. Despite retaining comedic themes rather comparable to its American counterparts such as Jackass or American Pie, Heavy Trip does so in a way that its comedy never becomes slapstick (not that slapstick films are wrong or unenjoyable). Despite a plethora of raunch-y or at times offensive jokes, the viewer still laughs because it’s funny – something I believe is underappreciated in comedic films. To be ostentatiously funny without being ratchet or offensive.
The characters in the film are all so distinct and unique in their own ways (binded solely by their love of metal music) that it is almost impossible for one not to be able to relate to at least one of the characters, or even to all of them as a collective. Though not a film driven by deep character development, all of them nonetheless have a story which we are exposed to, and allow us to further empathise with them. Finally, they are so distinctly lovable in their relationships with and towards one another, almost making their dark and death-heavy heavy metal physical appearance laughable. It is difficult to take them seriously, and yet we love them all the same – a critical aspect of many films, but one that makes it rather distinct from other European films.
As the film progresses into more and more absurd scenarios (digging up the dead drummer, the final ending sequence), its existence as a European film becomes more and more clear and distinct from its American counterparts or traditional cinema in general that always seeks to promote linearity and understandability in its plots and storylines. And yet at this point, it’s difficult to care. Heavy Trip is one of those movies directed in such a way that quite literally anything could happen – even the most absurd scenarios (perhaps, jumping off a cliff and living?) – and we would not question it. It is directed in such a way that we will continue watching, more than to know what happens next (I was late to my next class trying to finish this film, but no regrets!) but simply because of our utmost enjoyment of watching it. I was late to my next class trying to finish the film and yet I have absolutely no regrets.
Heavy Trip was the perfect film with which to end the semester – it reminds us to remember our passions, find them, work for them, but also not to take life too seriously and enjoy everything and anything that may come our way. Life, after all, can be ridiculous – let’s not forget to enjoy it.
Thank you for the semester Sir! I truly enjoyed it and learned so so sooo much!