A clip of a father abandoning his wife and children to run for his life as an avalanche tears down a mountainside towards them has gone viral.

But the footage is not quite what it appears.

Gizmodo broke the news that the video was actually "totally fake", which isn't entirely true: it's the pivotal scene from Force Majeure, a Swedish black comedy released in cinemas to widespread acclaim in 2014 and available on Netflix thereafter.

In the film from director Ruben Ostlund - who is hardly obscure, his follow up The Square winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2017 - a happily married couple take their kids to the French Alps for a winter skiing holiday, only for the father, Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke), to commit the act of cowardice seen in the viral clip.

His wife Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsil) attempts to gloss over his selfishness once everyone is safe and sound, downplaying the seriousness of the betrayal for the sake of their son and daughter while privately tormented by doubts about the future of her marriage.

Guy Lodge, a film critic for The Observer, was particularly unimpressed by Gizmodo's treatment of the phenomenon.

One irony of the scene going viral is that Ostlund has previously cited online video as an important source of inspiration, praising YouTube in a 2017 interview with GQ.

Feature filmmaking is so focused on the storytelling, but the moving image has a fantastic ability to capture human behaviour.

You don’t focus on the storytelling, you’re just focusing on a moment or a situation.

On the characters, and what they’re doing. So we have to look at them more like we look at animals.

I think that the most powerful moving images that I have seen in the last 15 years have been on YouTube.

He will therefore no doubt be highly amused to find Force Majeure enjoying a second wind as a popular meme.

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