Posts Tagged ‘Norwegian’

Bjornoya | Bear Island (2014) Prime Video

Wri|Dir: Edda Grjotheim, Inge Wegge | 78min | Action Doc | Norway

A snowboarding and surfing trip to Bear Island in the Barents Sea seems like a foolhardy idea even by Norwegian standards, but highly entertaining as we soon discover.

The three cheerful brothers- Hakon, Markus and Inge (who looks surprisingly like Jesse Eisenberg) set off on their daredevil mission all kitted up to nines with cold weather gear and prepared for the elements.

A jaunty soundtrack accompanies the doc’s extraordinary live action sequences showing the guys to be fit, well-prepared and genial despite the seriously scary weather conditions. Getting on like a tent on fire, (they kindle a wood fire under canvas to light their stove) they even get up early one bone-numbing morning to swim naked in the sea.

Cinematically this provides some sublimely eerie images of perma cold conditions, floating mists – the only brightness coming from the brothers’ high tech suits. There are some inventive moments with the camera occasionally grazing the ground, split screen shots, time-lapses and slo-mo adding a comtemplative, dreamlike touch that contrasts well with the brothers’ high energy, feel good vibe. No sibling rivalry here.

The awe-inspiring remoteness of the freezing terrain is surprisingly devoid of animal life – an arctic fox scampers by foraging for food, and seal blubber slips onto the menu eventually to make things authentic, clearly not something the boys would have wished for with its nauseous taste of cod liver oil. On a more alarming level, they notice the constant stream of plastic floating towards the North Pole – one even tries some Sprite left in one of the sealed bottles.

Masochists, nature enthusiasts and extreme sports fans will love this arthouse doc that travels to the Northern tip of Europe. But body-boarding in the frost laden waters of the Barents sea feels so hostile and bleak that the trip takes on endurance test proportions – not only for the cast – who do their best with endlessly chipper commentary. That said, there is a naked beauty and a balletic rhythm to this documentary that marks the directors out to be a talented pair who will hopefully go on to produce more of this kind of ‘extreme sport in remote locations’ fare that’s entertaining when one can appreciate it from somewhere warmer. MT


Blind (2014) | DVD BD & VOD release

IMG_1484Dir|Writer.: Eskil Vogt

Cast: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali, Marius Kolbenstevdt

Norway/Netherlands, 96 min.

After writing the scripts for Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31st and Reprise, Eskil Vogt’s debut film as a director, BLIND, is a stunning chamberpiece: a psychological cat and mouse game, truly original in its concept, and stunningly photographed by Greek DOP Thimios Bakatakis (Dogtooth, Attenberg).

Ingrid (Petersen), a woman in her thirties, has been blind for many years. She is losing her fight for independence, unable to leave her flat in Oslo, where she lives with her husband Morten (Rafaelsen), a successful architect, and finding the simplest of tasks, such as making tea, almost impossible. As soon as her husband leaves for work Ingrid imagines the world outside, constructing scenarios for her memories and imagination to wander through. One of these focuses on Einar, a former friend of Morten’s from his student days and now a reclusive, overweight figure who is addicted to internet porn. In her imagination, Morten is unfaithful to her with the imaginary Elin (Vitali), a lonely, divorced mother of a young daughter whom he goes to bed with (also in Ingrid’s imagination) and who soon suffers the same fate as Ingrid, when she starts losing her sight and also discovers she is pregnant from the one-night stand with Morten. This is in some ways a wish fulfilment on the part of Ingrid, who would like to have children. When Ingrid refuses to go to an office party, to celebrate Morten’s achievements, she imagines the (now blind) Elin, attending and being mistaken for Ingrid, only to find Morten in the company of three hookers. From here on matters take an even more unexpected turn.

Ingrid’s flat is a prison from which she tries to conjure up images with the help of a gadget, which is able to tell the colour of any object that it’s pressed against. This way, Ingrid hopes to stem the complete death of her optical nerves, which would otherwise die completely if not stimulated by her, by remembering the sensation of sight caused by the familiar objects. But BLIND is by no means a horror movie, on the contrary, it is utterly realistic in the way it takes the power of electronic communication just a step further to feed Ingrid’s imagination.

In a difficult role, Petersen’s Ingrid emerges a strong figure, despite her perceived handicap of blindness. She is stunning, not only in her portrait of a blind person, but in her ability to somehow transcend reality, whilst making it seem utterly realistic despite also being part-fiction. Bakatakis repeats his staggering skills of his Greek films, making everyday life seem threatening and oddly deranged in this sightless world, mired in an insipid and antiseptic aesthetic. BLIND shows a micro-cosmos of a society, were everybody has, literally, lost touch with each other, relying on the internet. Perception and reality blend in a fantastic way. Screen images allow the characters to engage in a life that avoids engaging emotionally, and particularly when it comes to sex. This emotional blindness makes it possible for a woman without sight, isolated in her home, to infiltrate the minds of others, who have given up on any form committed relationship. BLIND is a unique experience, if a coldly alienating one, in demonstrating the power of the mind and of fiction. AS




Copyright © 2024 Filmuforia