Fantasia Festival 2019: Koko-di Koko-da (2019)

Koko-di Koko-da (2019)

Koko-di Koko-da

Director (and writer): Johannes Nyholm

Cast: Leif Edlund, Ylva Gallon, Peter Belli, Brandy Litmanen, Morad Baloo Khatchadorian

Koko-di Koko-da is a 2019 Swedish-Danish horror fantasy about a couple who tries to reconnect on a camping trip but soon finds themselves stuck in a time loop with an odd entourage attacking them.

When a happy little family, where the couple Elin (Ylva Gallon) and Tobias (Leif Edlund) is still very in love and all enjoy taking their daughter,  goes on a little trip and end up getting a case of food poisoning that results in serious consequences. Three years later, the couple are still dealing with their emotions and decide to go on a camping trip to try to reconnect one last time. However, they end up in a time loop where entourage of three odd people, the leader (Peter Belli), the giant  (Morad Baloo Khatchadorian) and a weird girl, come to humiliate and kill them. As the husband wakes up each time from this nightmare, he tries to find a new way to avoid their tragic death.

Set in a time loop filled with death, humiliation and cheerful uplifting tune in the background, Koko-di Koko-da is strange. In its five or so loops that the story goes through, its a curious trap to say the least. If it wasn’t for the opening and closing sequences, it wouldn’t be quite so easy to link the events together especially why this particular entourage is haunting this couple. Symbolism is a big part of Koko-di Koko-da and it all sprouts in relation to the loss of their daughter. Every element is a part of the couple getting through this emotional trauma and whether the audience connects to those elements will be key to how much the film is appreciated. It can be fairly vague especially when its not only the curious trio that show up but also white cats crossing the path and attack dogs come into the equation. It takes away from the serious emotions between the couple but add this extra element of strangeness and mostly lead through Peter Belli’s over the top leader with this top hat, cane and a bright smile while being equally brutal in his ways.

Most of Koko-di Koko-da’s story revolves around the father and husband role Tobias being the main focus as the person with the knowledge, making his decisions in response to the previous loop, therefore also the one that is judged the most and giving his character most of the development as well. Leif Edlund does a good job with this character, starting with the first loop where he is mostly pathetic and weak, turning selfish and then finally finding the courage to lead the situation. However, the wife character Elin, played by Ylva Gallon isn’t disposable either. While her role is mostly reactive to Tobias and many times questioning his urgency and the reaction to a bad dream, her loop is one that feels much deeper, perhaps symbolizing her pain being on a different level and each going through their own form of torment causing them to fall further from each other.

Koko-di Koko-da is a film worth a lot of discussion. Its vague in its portrayal and symbolism. There are a lot of between and beyond the lines interpretations of each element. Its time loops while around five times or so runs the entire segment each time. Despite its changes each time, it does feel slightly repetitive. Only just slightly with one or two loops. However, there are some great elements to talk about that add charm. One of them is the pairing it with this repeating Koko-di Koko-da song that is very cheery children’s music. The second is 2 segments of story shown as a little theatre made out of paper cut bunny family projected on the theatre which is a child-like way to present a story that draws parallels to the reality which is extremely charming.

At the end of the day, Koko-di Koko-da is not for everyone. Its not a long film but it has a lot of depth. Perhaps one that is a bit too ambitious for its own good depending on its audience.