starring Cecilia Milocco, Krister Kern, Albin Grenholm, Ville Virtanen
written by Emma Broström
directed by Frida Kempff
by Walter Chaw Frida Kempff's Knocking reminds me a great deal of Matthew Chapman's underseen Heart of Midnight, in that both are about troubled young women recovering from some recent trauma, given autonomy over themselves and their environment and then mistrusted when things, perhaps insidiously, start to go pear-shaped. Where they diverge, however, is that Chapman's film is deliciously sleazy--the peril therein largely housed in the tension between sexual repression and expression and the lengths to which a male-dominated society is interested in manipulating women. It's no accident an inciting moment in Heart of Midnight involves an apple dropped from a peephole bored through the heroine's ceiling. In Knocking, the tension is whether Molly (Cecilia Milocco) is hearing ghostly knocking coming from her ceiling--maybe in Morse code, maybe not--or imagining it. That's it. Unless the knocking is attached to some tangible anchor, it can exist only as a metaphor for Molly's flashed-back-to but oblique trauma, for her sexual identity as gay (though no one seems interested in her one way or another), or for a more general sense of societal systems designed around not believing women. All are important in a social sense and tedious in a metaphorical sense. If the message is women get shafted, well, this is true and terrible. But if that's all you have to say about it, there's nothing left to consider in the subtext.