A bouldering roadtrip through Sweden featuring other areas than Kjugekull?
In the words of the Great Leader of the free world: "bring it on!".
The concept of Shawn Boye's new video Swedish Meatballs is roughly as follows: match
a Swedish and a Welsh
boulderer, pack them in a (sponsor-provided?) car and set them loose on the best
bouldering areas Sweden has to offer (south of Uppsala). Sweet.
Let's start with the bad news. The flick is shot in HDV, but unfortunately there
are no means known to mankind for producing watchable material in a dense forest
with the midday sun glaring. Good old film might do the trick, but that's not an option
In other words, a good part of the footage is of regrettable quality, with black
shadows and white sky and something moving in the midst. To the defense of the team
one must recognize that the roadtrip theme with a set schedule would probably not
lingering around waiting for optimal lighting. A heavier
focus on evening sessions and prioritizing cloudy skies could have improved the
though. Why and how on earth the guys got up for bouldering at sunrise is beyond me
on all levels.
Continuing with the camera work: I'm a sucker for long lenses and a narrow field of
Nothing for me in Swedidh Meatballs, where wide angle lenses are used more or less
throughout. Apart from the pure atmosphere of a tele shot, using different lenses would
have given some variety to the footage, which in my view is a bit too uniform.
Also, I would not have minded more close up shots, as these tend to be the key to
communicating the nature of a boulder problem. Again, easy to whine, but hard to
whithin the given concept. But nevertheless.
Music is a matter of taste it is said, but when music is combined with moving pictures
I believe there are some general rules one should try to follow. The prime one is that
there should be some connection between the two: atmospheric, rhythmic, thematic or
other. For me the music in Meatballs felt mostly disconnected from the action.
In fact, at worst it seemed as if some dj was playing music too loud in the room and I
felt like telling him: "cut it out, I'm trying to watch bouldering!". Those mellow
tunes coupled with slapping and dynoing just didn't do it for me. Additionally, the
of the music in relation to the recorded audio is too high, leading to a constant
with the volume buttons on the remote.
But don't get me wrong, I have plenty of good stuff to say as well, but critisizing is
just more fun! I like the concept
very much, and including a non-Swede was a good move for sure, bringing the objectivity
only an outsider can provide, plus a nice display of dry British humour, and rather
feats on the rock as well.
Tommy Vänskä, Helsinki
The second film by Shawn Boye I've seen. The best film by Shawn Boye I've seen. I was quite keen on seeing what Schweden has to offer to the world of bouldering, other than the much hyped Kjugekull. So, a roadtrip through the country's finest seemed an excellent concept.
Ok, what sucked? The music. Mostly the music just seemed to be there without any connection to the action seen. In addition, the music was too loud compared to speaking volume. Luckily the music got better towards the end. However, some people might prefer the music on this one over some other films. The music is mostly soft and easy.
Other thing that sucked was the same thing that was the problem in Shawn's last film: midday sun is too harsh in my opinion for almost any kind of filming. Shoots made during a cloudy period were the best. But it's not the filmguy who decides when to climb, is it. And hej, those guys start too early, breakfast before the gas stations open, c'mon! Or was it a joke? Good one then…
Having a Welshman play the leading role was an excellent choice when thinking of the Finnish market. Some Finns just aren't very excited to watch nicely dressed Swedish men. And the Welshman seemed psyched, which is always nice to see.
And what a nice set of sponsors. Wow! We have the usual set of Climbing mag etc., but what really stood out was Hilleberg, Ford and Sony. I assume that the only time the tent was set up was during the interview shoots. But the car (Ford) was used and shown quite a lot. Even to the degree that climbing played only a minor role in the outtakes (as long as the film itself!), which were mainly shot inside the car (Ford). I really didn't get why there was such an amount of talking in the outtakes. Surely there must have been more climbing filmed?
To sum it up, the main film was what I needed to get interested in Swedish bouldering, which it probably covered nicely. Some really nice looking lines! The dyno to a sidepull project that the Welshman finally climbed stood out as well as the highball climbed by Carl-Ola. Great ones! Points also from covering full grade range, up to 8b. Some really nice looking problems in the 6th grade. Last but not least, it's filmed in HDV! Whatever that means, my telly is a decade old... You rich bastards might enjoy it even more.
I'd recommend this film for those Finns or others who are interested in Swedish bouldering. Check this before you check Kjugekull (area or dvd). There seems to be some nice problems scattered around Sweden. Buy it if you are planning a trip. Buy it so you might start planning.
Samuli Lehtonen, Espoo / Slouppi.net