Swedish immigrant lives in the frame

Issue 
'Amateurs' brings working-class lives to the surface and shows the variety of immigrant experiences.

Amateurs
Directed by Gabriela Pichler
In Swedish, English, Arabic, Tamil, Kurdish, Bosnian, Romanian & German

Amateurs is a poignantly funny film that raises serious questions about Swedish multiculturalism, without ever preaching. There is plenty of harsh racist behaviour demonstrated — but the worst of it is committed by migrants against each other.

The film brings working-class lives to the surface and shows the variety of immigrant experiences. Class differences fracture the immigrants' lives and all scramble to fit in and survive. We see the real-life pressures of coping with a largely indifferent and smugly insensitive Sweden.

With a mixture of professional actors and non-actors it sometimes feels like you are watching a documentary rather than a comic/dramatic film.

It will please those who like to see more, and better, screen depictions of LGBTI people. A lesbian relationship is portrayed with the same lack of concern as any straight relationship. It simply is part of the reality, rather than something fraught with difficulty.

It took me a while to grasp that when the subtitles went into italics it meant that a language other than Swedish was being spoken. Amusingly, when the film’s Swedish bureaucrats and German capitalists want to bridge their language gap they switch effortlessly to English. The working-class immigrants have a harder time of it.

All-in-all, this is mature, 21st century film making. Gabriela Pichler has set the bar high for others to reach.

Amateurs is showing across Australia as part of the Scandinavian Film Festival and will no doubt pop up on SBS afterwards.