This sensitive long-term documentary portrays the timid archeology student Sven who is one of the first pedophiles to face the camera without a pixelated face and distorted voice to openly talk about his difficult struggle against his forbidden desires.
Shy, timid and insecure, Sven discovered something different about himself in his early teen years while reading a story in the local newspaper about a man that had raped and murdered a young child. He too had a sexual attraction to children growing in his psyche, which he reflects on, passively noticing at an ever-younger age when he felt embarrassment and arousal while holding his four-year-old cousin.
Austrian filmmakers Sebastian Meise and Thomas Reider followed their subject for three years, obtaining an endless stream of candid first-person confessionals and interviews from Sven, along with some short stories about his desires and self-analysis. It makes for exceedingly discomforting and occasionally distressing viewing, but Meise and Reider are careful to handle their controversial and disturbingly personable subject with an even hand. In fact, save for one interview, the narrative avoids vilification, having a natural trajectory of its own to fuel the template of documentary horror.
Initially, Sven discusses avoiding children altogether, smartly assessing their interpretation of his feelings and his monstrosity, bringing up the subjects of suicide and castration while openly seeking psychiatric help. His candid, frank disposition gives the impression that somewhere out there might be some sort of solution to keep him on the path of his architecture studies and overall normalcy, but as a psychiatrist points out, this outing, as it were, is merely an externalized mode of aversion and social acceptance. He then goes on to point out that the real concern is that Sven has nothing to lose should he give into his temptations.
What’s truly terrifying and compelling about this extremely intimate doc is that Sven’s disposition gradually changes over time as he justifies exceedingly inappropriate actions. He goes from masturbating to catalogue photos to taking pictures of children without their knowledge to meeting underage gaming buddies from the Internet to active cuddling with children over the span of the film. (By Robert Bell, exclaim.ca)
At the end of it all, we know all too well where this story is going and are left mainly with the plight of how to confront the issue socially, especially considering that even Sven’s Internet form pedophile buddy that actually had himself castrated admits to still having abject desires.