Ari Aster's MIDSOMMAR (2019)

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0UWIya-O0s

Number None, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 15:07 (eight months ago) link

in before the inevitable Wicker Man comparisons

I found Hereditary unique and effective enough to assume he's canny enough to go for something a little different here. Do we know who's handling the music yet?

bhad bundy (Simon H.), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 15:28 (eight months ago) link

he's canny enough to go for something a little different here

well if the trailer is anything to go by it's all daylight, which is definitely an interesting (and challenging) choice

Number None, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 15:36 (eight months ago) link

i thought hereditary was great, i'll watch the shit out of this - i really like the sun-dappled look of the cinematography

florence pugh's been great in everything i've seen her in so far, keen to see what she does here

invited to an unexpected ninja presentation (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 15:42 (eight months ago) link

two months pass...

new trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vnghdsjmd0

Number None, Tuesday, 14 May 2019 13:59 (six months ago) link

I'm going to avoid watching the trailers, but really looking forward to this. I saw Hereditary just a few days ago and loved it.

jmm, Tuesday, 14 May 2019 14:02 (six months ago) link

Conflicted about watching the trailer; considering Hereditary’s trailer had as much deception as some of the choices in the film itself, I can only imagine the Midsommar trailer would be well-crafted and avoid giving away anything you wouldn’t want it to ahead of time.

unashamed and trash (Unctious), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 17:15 (six months ago) link

midsommar murders

findom haddie (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 14 May 2019 17:34 (six months ago) link

one month passes...

Yes please:

https://pitchfork.com/news/the-haxan-cloak-releasing-score-for-new-film-midsommar/

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 20 June 2019 02:28 (four months ago) link

interestingly polarized reactions on twitter so far, many raves but a few vicious dissenters. should be interesting.

Simon H., Thursday, 20 June 2019 02:50 (four months ago) link

I feel like this type of movie should be perfect for me, but they never go dark enough.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Thursday, 20 June 2019 03:38 (four months ago) link

Hm. Okay, hopefully non-spoilery thoughts: Aster's metier, clearly, is trauma and survivorhood. That's what he explores, consistently. The question is how he constructs the vehicle. In this case I would add there's a definite sense being raised of *how* trauma/survivorhood is understood and interpreted not merely by the survivor but those around the survivor, especially, in this case, beyond family as understood, as opposed to <I>Hereditary</I>'s clear internal focus on family. I think this film will be one to reflect on with time, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it, and I look forward to others' thoughts. Beyond that: beautifully shot (the all-encompassing/oppressive sense of light and its rare muting or absence is handled extremely carefully), some actual funny moments, truly striking diagetic (mostly) Haxan Cloak score. Will say that how the scenes are stacked to show all sorts of activity going on that is never fully explained (and doesn't need to be explained) is one of the film's strong points. Would add that this is clearly a case where if you know your horror tropes you kinda know where it's all going, which may or may not frustrate you -- this isn't <I>Wicker Man</I> redux, say, but it's a film that knows its heritage. Final note: it's LONG. Give into a pee break if you think you need it.

Oh and this is accurate:

#Midsommar spoilers out of context. pic.twitter.com/B70gkiMb8K

— JustinKnoepfel (@JustinKnoepfel) July 3, 2019

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 06:04 (four months ago) link

tbh I just want to know how long it takes them to kill the black guy

brigadier pudding (DJP), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 13:08 (four months ago) link

Final note: it's LONG. Give into a pee break if you think you need it

This gave me pause. But I'm going to a 10 a.m. screening. See you on the other side!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 13:25 (four months ago) link

140 minutes

comedy and horror generally benefit from being compact

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 14:20 (four months ago) link

gonna end up seeing this despite how much i hated hereditary, hoping for the best. the length does not give me a lot of hope tbh

american bradass (BradNelson), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 14:56 (four months ago) link

Also, now that I’ve had a night to sleep on it — sound design is pretty crucial in this film. Grief and its aftereffects are portrayed visually (natch) but the underscoring of how someone can *hear* differently in its throes is something that really stands out to me all the more. Like it is an aural representation of shock and what it means to work through it — things are murky, unclear, you feel disoriented, sudden memories overwhelm you and your senses don’t ‘work.’ Again, it’s there visually to a degree but the sound design really underscores it, and arguably has both vivid moments of sudden actualization in the narrative, making itself manifest and then part of a greater whole, leading to an ending where it is absolutely central on several levels. This might be one of the strongest such efforts in terms of how grief is portrayed since Twin Peaks season 3, though instead of Lynch’s operatic dream tragedy and confusion via sound, this is somewhere where we are constantly looped back into an internal headspace projected outward. It’s very striking the more I think about it.

the length does not give me a lot of hope tbh

An edit or two wouldn't've hurt anything.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 14:58 (four months ago) link

Took me a little more thought but I finally put my finger on something that helps me think about the film: two themes, maybe more implied than directly stated, are culpability and conscious guilt. This plays out to the end, but in a way where I’m not entirely sure whether the resultant ambiguity is intentional. This could just be an overread on my part, though.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:19 (four months ago) link

Also manipulation is more obviously central as well the more I think about this. I was initially treating the cult trappings as just that but the more I think about it the more obvious it is that you have to separate the actual 'trappings' part -- the rituals, the visuals, etc. -- from what a cult is like in any form. This all still feeds into grief as the core. And I'll finally stop for now.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:37 (four months ago) link

It's dark enough.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:38 (four months ago) link

I am intrigued by some ppl criticizing it for being not scary/horror-y enough (not seen yet), since I rewatched The Wicker Man recently and it reminded me how just a few plot trappings and a creepy scene or two were once more than enough to earn you the tag. Now people tend to whinge about classification if it's not wall-to-wall slayings or hauntings.

Simon H., Wednesday, 3 July 2019 17:21 (four months ago) link

Yeah this is a movie with a very slow burn, one or two incredibly grotesque scenes, and the aftermath of same.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 17:26 (four months ago) link

my main point of curiosity is what this guy can do without the WMD that was Toni Collette. Don't think I can handle a Hereditary rewatch just yet but I'm unsure how much of what I loved about that movie was her or the direction.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:05 (four months ago) link

This movie is unthinkable (and unendurable) with the casting of Florence Pugh.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:06 (four months ago) link

without, you mean?

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:07 (four months ago) link

haven't seen her in anything so don't have any expectations.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:07 (four months ago) link

tired: midsommar

wired: midsummer murders

bookmarkflaglink (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:17 (four months ago) link

yeah, without

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:19 (four months ago) link

haven't seen her in anything so don't have any expectations.

See Lady Macbeth at first opportunity.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:25 (four months ago) link

yep

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 18:25 (four months ago) link

oh shit, i had forgotten about that and yes she is amazing in it. that's reassuring.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 19:01 (four months ago) link

the emphasis on casting and performance as being discrete and separable from directing is....weird to me

Simon H., Wednesday, 3 July 2019 20:52 (four months ago) link

Alfred's got his review up -- there are spoilers so only read if you've seen it or if you know you're not going to, but I think it's a very sharp read on the film, including problems that I didn't address properly (but which DJP rightly noted upthread):

https://humanizingthevacuum.wordpress.com/2019/07/03/midsommar-wants-to-be-more-than-a-horror-film/

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 20:56 (four months ago) link

when you’re at an elite festival but IG is down pic.twitter.com/UGzBCtGTCG

— Eric Allen Hatch (@ericallenhatch) July 3, 2019

Simon H., Wednesday, 3 July 2019 21:06 (four months ago) link

I literally just got out of this film and one of my first thoughts was “I bet Eric Hatch is on this”

shhh / let peaceful like things (wins), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 22:35 (four months ago) link

Alfred's got his review up -- there are spoilers so only read if you've seen it or if you know you're not going to, but I think it's a very sharp read on the film, including problems that I didn't address properly (but which DJP rightly noted upthread):

I finished the thread, just read DJP's remark -- yep. The racial politics are....fucked up.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 23:01 (four months ago) link

The racial politics are....fucked up.

I'm not gonna get around to this movie till it's on Amazon Prime, so if answering my questions would require too much spoilage feel free to ignore me, but...is there much made of the black guy being "a black guy," or is he just seen by the villagers/cultists as "not from here" just like the other protagonists? In other words, is his role in the film to be "the black guy" or is he a real character? And if it's the latter, why is it necessary or even good for a film set in a weird European village to hew to contemporary US racial politics?

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 23:54 (four months ago) link

You know what, never mind.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 23:55 (four months ago) link

The summary on Wikipedia doesn’t even mention which character is black.

president of deluded fruitcakes anonymous (silby), Thursday, 4 July 2019 00:25 (four months ago) link

why is it necessary or even good for a film set in a weird European village to hew to contemporary US racial politics?

I mean, the writer-director is American (along with, we can assume, the bulk of the financing) and the festival is made up, so it hardly seems out of bounds

Simon H., Thursday, 4 July 2019 01:10 (four months ago) link

It's also a well-known horror trope that black people in those movies largely exist to be brutally murdered in front of or in the vicinity of the Final Girl

brigadier pudding (DJP), Thursday, 4 July 2019 01:58 (four months ago) link

I'm not gonna get around to this movie till it's on Amazon Prime, so if answering my questions would require too much spoilage feel free to ignore me, but...is there much made of the black guy being "a black guy," or is he just seen by the villagers/cultists as "not from here" just like the other protagonists?

SPOILER

All these things, and he's the most committed to research, the smartest, yet he must collaborate with the boyfriend-asshole.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 4 July 2019 04:51 (four months ago) link

Lots of insane stuff in this movie but IMHO the most audacious move was to visually reference the Wicker Man remake during the climax. That is some next level cinematic trolling.

Conceptualize Wyverns (latebloomer), Thursday, 4 July 2019 08:00 (four months ago) link

Good new Haxan Cloak interview re the score:

https://thequietus.com/articles/26744-the-haxan-cloak-midsommar-ari-aster-bobby-krlic-interview

Also worth noting — when I mentioned to my partner how I thought all the constant background activity was one of the film’s best points, she immediately said it made her think of Drowning By Numbers. Lo and behold, Krlic brings up that both he and Aster bonded over a mutual Peter Greenaway love among other things.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 4 July 2019 13:35 (four months ago) link

Seeing this tonight, but another thing I find interesting about this guy's movies is that no one can seem to agree about their degree of intentionality. I saw someone on twitter argue, for instance, that the ending of this one was "funny" and "wasn't supposed to be." Meanwhile in an AVClub interview Aster says he thinks of the movie as a dark comedy and specifically cited the ending!

Simon H., Thursday, 4 July 2019 14:50 (four months ago) link

I’m a bit bemused at the idea of seeing this film and thinking the humour was unintentional

shhh / let peaceful like things (wins), Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:43 (four months ago) link

Ari Aster is incredible at inserting bleak humor into his films. The reveal at the start of his short The Strange Thing About the Johnsons is simultaneously the darkest and funniest sight gag I think I've ever seen.

OneSecondBefore, Thursday, 4 July 2019 16:52 (four months ago) link

I enjoyed this.

Spoilery question - after the boyfriend was supposedly taken to the airport, did anybody else hear a woman screaming in the scene a few minutes later?

Fuck Trump, cops, and the CBP (Neanderthal), Thursday, 4 July 2019 16:58 (four months ago) link

Yeah that was clearly Connie.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:38 (four months ago) link

as evidenced by her experience! Lmao jeez

boobie, Tuesday, 30 July 2019 17:22 (three months ago) link

one month passes...

Found the first 45 minutes or so effectively creepy--thought the rest alternated between lengthy dead patches and camp lunacy. Completely baffled by the last shot, and if there was some connection to the parents/sister, that went right by me too. But well done, Frankie Valli.

clemenza, Tuesday, 3 September 2019 04:24 (two months ago) link

There's no literal connection between the cult and Dani's family tragedy, but the whole film is about her dealing with her trauma.

chap, Tuesday, 3 September 2019 08:47 (two months ago) link

xp that's p much exactly how I felt about Hereditary, not so much Midsommar. Yeah I found the last shot a bit baffling too.

frame casual (dog latin), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 09:00 (two months ago) link

(x-post) I thought some more about that last night and eventually made the connection. So is it that she's smiling at the irony of her way being essentially the same as their way? Or that they need to add all this ritual and pageantry to arrive at the same point? Or...I still come up short. I guess there's some latitude there.

clemenza, Tuesday, 3 September 2019 13:59 (two months ago) link

I thought she was smiling because she'd found a family

also because she finally realized her boyfriend sucked and he was... well, you know

untuned mass damper (mh), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:08 (two months ago) link

I had quite a simple interpretation in cinema, that it was the first time she'd felt some kind of peace since the murder/suicide. I guess the whole experience was a cleansing for her, stripping away the detritus (notably Christian). I'd have to watch it again to expound that reading with much confidence though.

xpost - more or less the same

chap, Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:14 (two months ago) link

i thought she was smiling because after a long period of despair she felt momentarily happy
why she was happy isn't really for us to know, but it's clear she felt a stab of happiness and that brings relief for her and us

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:14 (two months ago) link

momentary relief, since the actual situation is quite dire

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:15 (two months ago) link

I'm looking forward to rewatching this at home.

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n láimh fhalaimh (dowd), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:17 (two months ago) link

i am looking forward to watching director's cut at home!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:19 (two months ago) link

xp agreed that it's probably good not to read too much into it! it's her first real smile in the film

untuned mass damper (mh), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:19 (two months ago) link

It’s the first time she’s been able to (1) have some sort of control over her life, (2) let’s not pretend vengeance doesn’t feel good, (3) we’re shown over and over the way she suppresses her emotions every time they come up—every time her trauma’s triggered, she has to run away to be alone and force it back down. The women of the village gave Dany her first ever opportunity to sit in her grief and confront it head on, with support—although it’s ultimately rerouted into violence. There’s major catharsis for her in all this.

unashamed and trash (Unctious), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:45 (two months ago) link

There’s major catharsis for her in all this.

Mirroring the audience's journey perhaps?

chap, Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:46 (two months ago) link

I thought she smiled because she was free to accept/be accepted into the group, into communal emotion.

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n láimh fhalaimh (dowd), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:52 (two months ago) link

It reminded me of "Irreversible" told in reverse, beginning with a terrible violence and ending with a bucolic little bonfire in a field

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 3 September 2019 14:55 (two months ago) link

From the beginning of the film, decisions have been presented as an overwhelming burden for her and now she is completely relieved of that -- they've even removed the burden of deciding when and how to breathe.

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 3 September 2019 15:00 (two months ago) link

/There’s major catharsis for her in all this./

Mirroring the audience's journey perhaps?


I’m not so sure about this. I think I need to separate my reading of the film in an academic sense from how I experienced it on watching.

For example, while I’m sure the crying scene feels cathartic for Dani, I was absolutely horrified by it. As an audience member, it was actually one of the most disturbing moments for me; I felt like I was watching her grief be appropriated for manipulation’s sake. It’s the exact opposite of what I’ve wanted when I’ve been at my low points, and I felt like the women were taking away her ability to work through grief in a healthy way.

I’ll juxtapose my feelings at the end of Midsommar with my feelings at the end of Hereditary: I felt more catharsis in the “Hail Paimon” moment, which is calm and clean, than in the burning and smile, which was vindictive.

unashamed and trash (Unctious), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 15:21 (two months ago) link

But maybe that experience is just informed by how much of a tension release the last moments of Hereditary is, compared to Midsommar.

unashamed and trash (Unctious), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 15:24 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

This was completely predictable from jump and yet a lot of fun to watch. Often hilarious. "The Golden Bough" + A24 aesthetic make for odd bedfellows but I dug it. Also, Florence Pugh is a force of nature. One of the great young actors out there, imho.

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Friday, 27 September 2019 09:27 (one month ago) link

I think the predictability was part of the point. The plot is telegraphed throughout, even from the opening scene, so hard the fun is being a few steps in front of the characters in a 'oh no don't go down in the basement' sort of way. Read a good article the other day about the use of yellow in this film to connote death and danger

frame casual (dog latin), Friday, 27 September 2019 10:20 (one month ago) link

Catching this on DVD soon. After reading this Esquire article, will be freeze framing periodically. Haven't seen anyone mention it itt, so maybe some'll check the movie again.

the body of a spider... (scampering alpaca), Friday, 27 September 2019 13:20 (one month ago) link

I noticed a couple things like that but they’re subtle enough they’re overwhelmed in a first viewing by all the goings-on!

mh, Friday, 27 September 2019 13:28 (one month ago) link

I noticed faces etc. here and there - given the hallucinogenic influence on the film that's not surprising. But I would guess that it, like Hereditary, rewards multiple viewings. Still a month for DVD here I think?

Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n láimh fhalaimh (dowd), Friday, 27 September 2019 13:30 (one month ago) link

I don't know if anyone else feels the same way but to me the events on the ending only make sense symbolically. The fire represents the breakup and the villagers reactions represent the internal turmoil going on in Dani's head. Then the smile comes after the realization that it she finally feels free and that it was clearly all for the best. It symbolized her letting go.

daavid, Friday, 11 October 2019 05:17 (one month ago) link

After all, Aster has been saying over and over that this is a breakup movie, yet at no point is there an actual break up scene, so the fire must be it.

daavid, Friday, 11 October 2019 05:19 (one month ago) link

It's interesting to think about, but I don't think my reading needs a symbolic interpretation of the fire or the villagers' reactions. The movie is definitely about Dani navigating her breakup, but I don't think it's symbolic of her letting go--I think it's literally her getting catharsis from burning her ex in a bear suit in a pyramid.

unashamed and trash (Unctious), Friday, 11 October 2019 15:00 (one month ago) link

she also lost her entire family in a single shocking violent act
she has a lot going on!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 11 October 2019 15:04 (one month ago) link

I'm fine with taking it at face value. Though I can understand the impulse to try to do that when faced with some of the more surreal moments, I personally don't feel like the story is too fantastical to withstand a literal interpretation -- and definitely not compared to other horror movies. The experience the creators convey is the same whether the audience takes it that way or not, I think. I've seen it twice, both versions, and I still don't really know if I could explain why the final scene feels so right. I don't know if I get it intellectually, but I "get" it on an emotional level if that makes any sense.

beard papa, Friday, 11 October 2019 15:38 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

so is anyone going as May Queen + Bearsuit for Halloween

Οὖτις, Monday, 28 October 2019 15:20 (three weeks ago) link

I went as the hippie religious nut from Us

When I am afraid, I put my toast in you (Neanderthal), Monday, 28 October 2019 15:41 (three weeks ago) link

i saw three separate bear-dani combos on various social media this weekend

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 28 October 2019 15:55 (three weeks ago) link

was specifically thinking of her big mountain-o-flowers outfit at the end but it's too late for me and my wife to pull it off

Οὖτις, Monday, 28 October 2019 15:57 (three weeks ago) link

that was the exact outfit i saw 3x

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 28 October 2019 15:58 (three weeks ago) link

haha
great minds think alike :)

Οὖτις, Monday, 28 October 2019 15:59 (three weeks ago) link

I would absolutely love to do that, but I've really nowhere to go for Halloween. Maybe no one needs to know that and I can just float around on the underground

tangenttangent, Monday, 28 October 2019 16:55 (three weeks ago) link

You can be the May Queen but I'll be the strapping Swedish chap who wins her affections

imago, Monday, 28 October 2019 17:14 (three weeks ago) link

You will be the bear

tangenttangent, Monday, 28 October 2019 17:16 (three weeks ago) link

Or maybe we can dress as the old pair who off themselves. Gore effects and mallet optional

imago, Monday, 28 October 2019 17:16 (three weeks ago) link

All we need is matching blue pyjamas

imago, Monday, 28 October 2019 17:18 (three weeks ago) link

:O

tangenttangent, Monday, 28 October 2019 17:21 (three weeks ago) link

We even have goblets!

imago, Monday, 28 October 2019 17:22 (three weeks ago) link

I know a couple who did the Bear/Flowers dual costume, and saw a bonus photo of a friend who dressed her cat and dog up as flower pile + bear. Luckily it will be cold on Halloween so the costumes won't be unbearably hot (heh).

Sadly another friend of mine saw the movie and she hated it! She said Dani was selfish and annoying.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 28 October 2019 17:32 (three weeks ago) link

Hot take there, lol

Οὖτις, Monday, 28 October 2019 17:37 (three weeks ago) link

more like an icy cold take

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 28 October 2019 17:40 (three weeks ago) link

yikes

mh, Monday, 28 October 2019 17:41 (three weeks ago) link

I mean the argument with douche boyfriend about him not telling her about Sweden shoulda been enough to put her in the "emotionally manipulated" category but hmm, some people think it's her fault apparently. Ok.

When I am afraid, I put my toast in you (Neanderthal), Monday, 28 October 2019 17:42 (three weeks ago) link

the only thing she really lacks is the self-confidence to assert her needs, but after seeing how her concerns are trivialized from the _very start_ by her dick boyfriend, it seems like more a function of her youth and clinging to the one guy who is a constant after tragedy strikes

if her family hadn't died at the very beginning, she might have dumped his ass by the time the rest of the movie took place! instead she's clinging to the dude who was like "oh, you're sister is nuts and you can't keep responding to her. everything's probably fine"

mh, Monday, 28 October 2019 17:51 (three weeks ago) link

Yeah I didn't really know how to respond so I just dropped it.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 28 October 2019 18:16 (three weeks ago) link

like many o_O comments, it reveals the commenter's bias rather than adding anything interesting to the discussion (calling someone annoying is always like that too)

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 28 October 2019 18:21 (three weeks ago) link


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