The Swedish Theory of LoveErik Gandini, 76 min, Sweden.
Sweden is typically portrayed as having a perfectly organized society in which everyone has equal opportunities for an independent existence. One upshot is that people don’t need to ask anyone else for help or favors, bringing contact between individuals to an absolute minimum. Half the population lives in single households, and more and more women are choosing for single motherhood through artificial insemination. Meanwhile, the number of people dying alone is continually on the rise. The woeful succession of sperm banks, deserted residential areas and forgotten deaths casts a disturbing light on the downside to an independent society in which the only truly social activity appears to be searches for missing persons.
The film raises the fascinating question of why a life lived in such security and safety should turn out to be so unsatisfying. Some Swedes are putting up courageous resistance: young people are organizing gatherings in the woods to surrender to emotions and caresses; and a successful surgeon moved away to Ethiopia, where despite the lack of material wealth, he relearned the value of community. In conclusion, maverick sociologist Zygmunt Bauman explains why a trouble-free life isn’t necessarily a happy one.