Swedish conceptual artist Anna Odell is best known for faking her own suicide in public in 2009, a stunt which landed her in a psychiatric hospital for the night. Her debut feature film retains some of that shock factor, but not enough to make it more than passably interesting.
It’s a film of two distinct parts. In the first, Odell (playing herself) is seen attending her high school reunion, where she causes a scene by accusing her fellow classmates of having bullied her as a kid and is forcibly ejected. In the second, Odell meets with her ‘real’ classmates – some portrayed by actors, others seeming to play themselves – to discuss the film, and ask why she wasn’t actually invited to the real-life reunion. There are some wonderfully discomfiting moments here.
Odell plays herself to the hilt (which is probably harder than it looks) and the sense of spiralling shame and awkwardness is compelling. The film’s key question – should we rake over cold coals, or leave the past alone? – is smartly realised. But ‘The Reunion’ never digs quite as deep as you want it to, and Odell’s decision to over-dramatise the ‘documentary’ aspects of the second half falls a bit flat.