Tuesday, 17 November 2009
LEEDS FILM FEST REVIEW: North
A real find of the festival! This has flashes of absurdity, hilarity, tenderness and moments of “OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT JUST HAPPENED!” North is a thoroughly enjoyable Norwegian film which takes the ‘let’s go on a roadtrip and meet lots of quirky characters along the way’ device to a whole new level of brilliance.
Jomar has a lot of nervous issues connected with panic attacks and depression, and his lethargy causes his girlfriend and his four-year old son to leave him for the very north of the country. His best friend convinces him to go out and find them and to win his girlfriend back. So off he sets with some alcohol on a ski jet across the snowy drifts and plains (burning his cabin down in the process!). Along the way he meets three very distinctive, odd characters which define just what a solitary and desolate place the tip of Norway is. One is a lonely teenage girl who lives outside of the main village with her grandmother and she is desperate for company and attention – even his. There’s a young man – it’s not clear whether he is either a repressed or curious homosexual – who likes to play party games – ridiculous party games. And then, best of all, there’s an old man he meets living in a tent who embraces the emptiness and finds a friend in Jomar at a time when he is readying himself for the end.
The images of the blindingly white covered landscape are stunning, and it really opens up your mind as well as your eyes to this hushed,vast place which hardly anybody inhabits and very little is known about. I’m definitely going to be doing some google-mapping in the near future! I love Norway already, one of the reasons to see this film was for the bonus scenery.
Jomar is a gem of a protagonist, possessing the ability to cause mayhem (and fires!) wherever he goes and yet touch people’s lives at the same time. He cannot fail to win over the viewer as he’s priceless to watch; a hard-on-his-luck guy whose determination and personal courage to reach his family makes him a true hero.
The subtle gentle ending is just perfect, but this film will be forever lauded for one hilarious, cover-your-mouth-in-horror scene (yes, you’ll know the one when it happens) which is absolutely not to be missed by ANYONE.
A great film from a gorgeous country. Pass me some skis!