Film festival to attempt mass hypnosis of audience

During Sweden's Goteborg Film Festival—known for its gimmicky screenings and social experiments—organizers will attempt to hypnotize its attendees later this month, "transforming the audience's state of mind in accordance with the mood and theme of the film," they say. The festival hired a professional hypnotist to conduct the experiment that, according to festival artistic director Jonas Holmberg, is meant to "raise questions about submission, transgression and control." The hypnotism will take place before the gala screenings of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Memoria, Shirin Neshat's Land of Dreams, and Christian Tafdrup's Speak No Evil. Watch the trailer for the stunt above. From the Hollywood Reporter:

"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," said Holmberg. "The Hypnotic Cinema is both a tribute to and an extension of the experience of watching films at the movie theater."[…]

Goteborg is notorious for its social experiment gimmicks. Last year's festival invited a single film fan to spend a week watching movies in a converted lighthouse on a rocky island off Sweden's west coast. The 2019 fest included "coffin cinema": screenings in which viewers were locked into a specially designed sarcophagus, the film projected onto the inside of the casket.

But Goteborg's biggest experiment this year could be its attempt to have an in-person film festival in the middle of the pandemic.