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The film Turist (Force Majeure) chronicles a family on skiing holiday in the Alps. It's mostly a pretty "ordinary" film with no surreal elements.

But the ending completely bewildered me. The tourists are in a bus, driving back from the hotel after their holiday. They are on a high mountain pass (looks like Passo dello Stelvio), and all the snow is gone. This scene is clearly shot in summer, there is not a single patch of snow on the mountains, and at some point they leave the bus and walk on the road, without their coats on. Initially I thought, what a terribly sloppy mistake. But shooting a summer scene requires the entire film team to come back 6+ months later, and according to the credits, it is indeed shot in a different country. So it must be on purpose. The scene appears surreal to me, although none of the rest of the movie is.

What is the meaning of this scene?

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That's funny: I just attributed the lack of snow to being further down the mountain. Hazards of life in Southern California (where it's not unusual to go to a cold, snowy climate and take a short drive to sunny and warm weather).

The purpose of the scene seems pretty clear: The husband and wife are in trouble (relationship-wise), and it seems like the husband's cowardly behavior during the "avalanche" is going to be the wedge that finally drives them apart. But then the bus gets stranded on the way down and who freaks out? The wife. The husband is the resolute one, in command. And so it seems that, perhaps, this restores a kind of equilibrium and they might—maybe—survive this vacation.

In order to achieve this, they needed a very precarious-looking drive down, and what they used may have been the most convenient road that fit the bill. Factor in that they wouldn't have wanted it to be actually dangerous to the cast and crew for your explanation of why they didn't go for authenticity here.

A quick Google reveals I'm right about the meaning of the scene:

https://www.yahoo.com/tv/force-majeure-director-captain-coward-161500699.html

Though I haven't found an explanation for why they filmed it where they did.

  • But in southern California you wouldn't be above the tree line after driving down from the skiing, as those people clearly are... – gerrit Mar 19 '16 at 0:26
  • My feeling is you know a LOT more about this environment than I do, as I didn't even notice this. I think the filmmakers were counting on more viewers like me, than you! – moviegique Mar 19 '16 at 4:33
  • Probably. But logistically, it also means they had to return in another season to shoot it at all. So it's a rather expensive scene to shoot. – gerrit Mar 19 '16 at 10:58

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