Ivo Image

Ivo

By Alan Ng | December 15, 2020

An interesting question is raised in Christina Lande’s Ivo about whether human beings roam in packs, just like dogs do. The short film tells the story of Iben (Guri Johnson), who is a language arts teacher. She lives alone with her border collie, Ivo, whom she loves dearly.

Iben is somewhat of a loner. She sits by herself in the teacher’s lounge, does her job, and goes home to her dog. In her class is another loner, Markus (Erlend Anton Fjelltun), who is the only one not raising his hand in class. One afternoon, Markus leaves class early, and Iben later drives by him on her way home. The two become friends, and Markus is introduced to Ivo.

As the two play together, Markus gets a little too aggressive with a fetching stick. The next day, Markus claims Ivo bit him, and the school demands that he is “put down.” Ironically, Markus is now the center of attention amongst his classmates with his heavily bandaged hand. Iben now finds herself chastised online, shunned by her fellow teachers, and forced to take drastic measures with Ivo.

“…Markus claims Ivo bit him, and the school demands that he is ‘put down.'”

Off subject for the moment, but Ivo, the film (not the dog), is shot beautifully in Lofoten, Norway’s snowy climate. I wouldn’t say I like the cold, but the small, out of the way village is gorgeous thanks to its natural surroundings. It’s a part of the world we rarely get to see.

Back to the story, Ivo presents some answers to the question posed at the start. Are we meant to belong to packs? For security? For strength? Of course, the question goes unanswered, but Iben is the one who resists belonging to a pack and keeps herself at arm’s length from others. Her sole opportunity to trust and show compassion is met with betrayal. Like many stories about bullies, it’s the target that winds up in the most trouble.

Ivo presents a problem, asks questions, and lets us come to our own conclusions… especially about its cryptic ending.

Ivo (2020)

Directed and Written: Christina Lande

Starring: Guri Johnson, Erlend Anton Fjelltun, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Ivo Image

"…are we meant to belong to packs? For security? For strength?"

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