Antonio Tublén / Sweden/Denmark / 2013 / 94 mins
Peter Strickland’s lo-fi analogue drama Berberian Sound Studio was already aligned as an equivalent to Swedish director Antonio Tublén’s LFO ahead of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. Similar in sonic interest alone, Tublén’s refers to low-frequency oscillation: a sub-20 Hz electronic signal that emits a dull pulsing sound. For obsessive nutty professor Robert (Patrik Karlson), he discovers a particular frequency that sends all who hear it into a hypnotic state in which he can control their behaviour. Using his new neighbours Linn and Simon (Izabella Jo Tschig and Per Löfberg) as guinea pigs, Robert has them cleaning his house, asks Simon to rob banks and convinces Linn to sleep with him.
This is truly an oblique and eccentric comedy on the moral consequences of unrestricted power. With nobody – not even the police – able to stop Robert, he turns further inwards, believing he has all the answers to society’s degeneration. Is he God? Of course, we know this argument is full of error and paradox; this is a study of omnipotence without the omniscience. The journey is enjoyable with some good debate, but the novelty of the humour wears off and the final debate on power itself could come much earlier in the film. The conclusion is one we are all familiar with when discussing how power corrupts absolutely.