Synopsis by Nathan Southern
In the tradition of such acclaimed films as Careful, He Might Hear You, The Children Are Watching Us and A Nos Amours, Kadri Kõussar's childhood drama Magnus (2007) (her first picture) sings a poignant elegy to a damaged youth - and reflects at length on the degree to which parents can unwittingly destroy a child's well-being. At the center of the picture is the title character (Ruuben Rekkor): a young boy whose parents aren't exactly role models of suburban perfection. While his father Mart Laisk indulges in recreational drugs and recruits innocent girls for German hard-core pornography, Magnus's mother shrieks and wails admonitions at the boy that go altogether ignored. Predicted by doctors not to live past the age of 16, Magnus begins to "test fate"; he plays lethal games with life and death and establishes a series of superstitious rituals designed to prolong his life. During adolescence, Magnus rebels, drifting into aberrant behavior - wanton promiscuity, drugs, booze. The combined effect of those experiences - and the emptiness that they yield - propels Magnus ever closer to death and yields two suicide attempts. Following the second attempt, Magnus's father states that he sees the error of his ways and does his best to intervene - but his idea of a 180 entails involving Magnus in his own drug use and wild sex life with women. Meanwhile, Magnus continues to ponder suicide and gives some thought to his own spiritual well-being. As a somewhat unusual aspect of the story - given its subject matter - Kõussar peppers the film with liberal doses of humor and endearingly eccentric characters to offset the pathos.
death-wish, disease, lungs