‘Mind-bending’: Sweden’s Goteborg Festival to experiment with mass hypnosis of audiences

‘Do you dare let go of control?’ teases trailer

Ellie Harrison
Tuesday 04 January 2022 09:54
Goteborg's festival's Hypnotic Cinema trailer

Sweden’s Goteborg Film Festival is famous for the social experiments it does on its audiences – and the 2022 edition will be no different.

For this year’s event, the festival will experiment with mass hypnosis in an attempt to “transform the audience’s state of mind in accordance with the mood and theme” of each film.

Films due to be screened at the 2022 festival include Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria starring Tilda Swinton and Christian Tafdrup’s psychological thriller Speak No Evil.

Goteborg’s artistic director Jonas Holmberg said the experiment is meant to “raise questions about submission, transgression and control”.

In a trailer for Goteberg’s Hypnotic Cinema, prospective attendees are asked: “Do you dare let go of control?” The experiment, meanwhile, is described as “mind-bending”.

In previous years, Goteberg audiences have been locked in coffins to test the limits of claustrophobia, while the notion of social isolation was taken to a new level when a single viewer was stranded for a week on an island in the North Sea.

The chosen film enthusiast spent seven days in total isolation on the island of Hamneskär, sleeping in Pater Noster, a former lighthouse that has been converted into luxury accommodation and a cinema.

The guest was not allowed to bring a computer, phone or even a book to the island. “You can watch the waves and you can watch the films,” said Holmberg at the time.

Goteborg begins on 28 January 2022 and will feature more than 200 films from 80 countries.

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