A Swedish Bookshop Brings the Drama by Suggesting, Surprisingly, That We Have None
Papercut Shop, a major Swedish book and magazine retailer, just dropped "My Sister," a gripping drama narrated by a man whose sister didn't come home one day…
...until she did.
This work was conceived by Åkestam Holst and The North Alliance (NoA), an "international community of creatives, built on the Nordic values of equality, diversity, and collaboration."
We like how "My Sister" plays on the Swedes' affinity for crime dramas—the Scandis make some of the bleakest and best in the world—though we're uneasy about the decision to play on, and banalize, the way women disappear. The often dangerous hazards women face, just by being women in systems that value them less, is not a subject that's taken seriously enough to be able to laugh about, especially in our current political climate. (It merits mentioning that Sweden is a world leader in terms of gender equality, but violence against women is still a problem there. It is not even considered a gender equality metric.)
But maybe the strangest thing about this work is the angle it chooses to turn on. The sister isn't gone; she's just been out a little longer to get a haircut, and some minutes after leaving a message, she returns, almost to the narrator's disappointment.
"Everyday life isn't very exciting," the ad concludes, followed by the Papercut logo and its tagline, "For stories less ordinary."
We're living in some of the strangest times in recent human history. And between the seesawing uncertainties of life under Covid, the elongated climate crises, the equality uprisings, a dizzying array of conspiracy theories, and our upcoming elections—which the entire world is popping corn to watch—it's weird to punt the message that everyday life is nothing but "disappointing drama," as the press email for this work quoted to us.
A lot of us would love some disappointing drama right now. Like, remember when Justin Bieber cutting his bangs was the most newsworthy event for several days in a row? Take us back to that place.
Agency: Åkestam Holst / NoA
Writer: Magnus Jakobsson
Art Director: Joakim Khoury
Production: BKRY / NoA
VHS-DOP/Edit: Joakim Khoury
Tech assistant: Lamin Cassama