One of largest themes we have dealt with throughout this term is how parents affect their children and Fridrik Fridrikkson’s 1995 film Cold Fever doesn’t shy from the topic.  Audiences watch as a young man struggles to cope with the death of his parents through traditions of his ancestry in the modern world.  Hirata is haunted by the wishes of his parents and his traditional obligation to put the souls of his parents to rest in the place where they died.  Hirata like Alexander sees ghosts and is haunted by his parents and similar to Bergman, Fridrikkson uses the camera and sound to heighten the spiritual or ghosts’ presence in the lives of both characters.

Looking at the scene where Hirata watches the video letter from his parents, Fridrikkson’s use of sound and cinematography set up the aura for the rest of the film in Bergman esque homage.  The scene begins before it starts.  The music at the end of the previous scene where Hirata is walking with his grandfather, changes to an eerie new song.  The music is in a high octave and is mostly string instruments and the consistent dropping of piano keys, which creates an uncomfortable feeling of mystery. The music sutures the scenes together and as the new scene begins, the camera angle is a low-long shot of Hirata putting in his living room.  There is a flickering of light from a television off screen.  The music screeches and the audience gets the feeling that the camera perspective might be someone else watching Hirata.  At this point the camera angle cuts and the audience watches the golf ball roll into the center of the frame just as a woman speaks. “Atsushi, how are you?” Immediately after finishing her question the scene cuts back to a medium-close up shot of Hirata.  He looks up quickly at the direction of the voices as if he has heard a ghost.  She continues talking and the audience watches as he slowly stands up, almost entranced by the woman’s voice. The music continues in the background. The scene then cuts to a shot of Hirata’s television. The box takes up almost the entire frame and the audience sees a level, pre-recorded video letter from Hirata’s parents in Iceland.  The light is flickering around the box of the television and the music continues.  The audience feels that something is strange about this video letter but aren’t sure what exactly.  Everything seems normal enough but the diegetic music, use of lighting, editing and camera position creates a feeling of discomfort.

While Hirata doesn’t see the actual ghost of his parents, their request for him to visit them in Iceland haunts his life.  Like Alexander, Hirata cannot escape the connection he has to his parents.  When Bergman shows the audience the ghost of Alexander’s father, he uses long shots, editing and sound to create an eerie effect of a ghost for the audience.  Fridrikkson uses the same effect in Cold Fever.  The first time Fridrikkson creates the feeling of a ghost is when Hirata watches the video letter from his parents but as Hirata goes on his spiritual pilgrimage to Iceland on behalf of his parents, Hirata experiences actual ghosts.  The ghost of the child, or nature spirit, and other island ghosts are presented in the same manner of the video letter.  The use of camera and sound to heighten the audiences’ perception that a spiritual being is present is an effective tactic and is reminiscent of the film Fanny and Alexander.

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