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By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

January 6, 2022 | 2 min read

Would you dare to lose control over your consciousness? It’s a question being posed by Gothenburg Film Festival organizers who aim to disrupt the modern cinema experience by performing mass hypnosis on audiences before three movies as part of this year’s ‘disorder’ event theme.

‘The Hypnotic Cinema’, created with Stendahls, is billed as 'mind-bending' and aims to examine the possibility of intensifying the film experience for those courageous visitors who dare to take part.

It’s a short video with some cult movie Easter eggs for eagle-eyed viewers: Frank the Rabbit from Donnie Darko, the long crimson corridors of Kubrick’s The Shining and a single red balloon similar to the infamous one held by Pennywise the Clown in It.


A background of hypnotic spirals gives the video a trippy feel throughout while the Tarantino-esque surf rock soundtrack adds an uneasy quality.

“The rules and restrictions of the past year have illuminated how to maintain order in society and what really governs people’s thoughts and behaviors. Maybe we don’t make decisions as independently as we like to think? With The Hypnotic Cinema we want to raise questions about submission, transgression, and control,” said Jonas Holmberg, artistic director at Gothenburg Film Festival.


"Watching a film in the cinema can be extremely hypnotic. At home, with a tablet, it is much harder to maintain the focus you need to get really absorbed by a film. Now, as Göteborg Film Festival returns to theaters, we add another hypnotic layer. The Hypnotic Cinema is both a tribute to and an extension of the experience of watching films at the movie theatre," he added.


The Swedish festival is no stranger to marketing stunts. In previous years movie lovers have been placed inside coffins, a la screen legend Dracula, and in one instance the festival organizers took social distancing to the extreme by sending one solo person to a barren island to watch movies for a whole week.

Memoria, Land of Dreams and Speak No Evil are the three films being screened between Jan 28 and Feb 6 2022.

Gothenburg Film Festival: The Hypnotic Cinema by Stendahls

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