by Andrew S.
Let me start by saying that I wanted to love this film. I should love this film. I wrote my dissertation on neorealism, I obsessed over Miranda July, an artist that calls on similar surrealism to show passing of time and human emotion, I collected foreign films for over a decade and this film was preceded tonight by the Perth Festival Programmer telling us that this was the best film he’d seen at Cannes this year. It’s the start to a packed four months of independent film from every corner of the globe, all themed on Wardan (Noongar for Ocean). The programme looks exciting and diverse.
But this film was good. It’s in twelve chapters with a prologue and epilogue and lasts two hours. It’s telling when you count chapters down, or feel relief when a chapter isn’t “too long.” Chapters 1,11 and 12 show some hints of genius, and, as mentioned before, the surrealist scenes of drug taking and the section of frozen time tickle your interest, creating a more unique and original way to tell a story. There are beautiful long shots of Oslo’s picturesque landscape which capture both the senses of a city, and the emotional state of the characters, but amongst all of that are scenes and sections of nothingness.
It felt, at times, that the director, Joachim Trier, had shot a scene, so the scene had to be used in the final edit. That nothing had been cut, and if this was not the case, you have to feel for the actors that lived through even more scenes than the ones we saw on screen. There was no nuance in some of the mundane sections and long periods that did nothing to further the narrative.
What is obvious, however, is why Renate Reinsve won Best Actress at Cannes. She’s believable, likeable, unlikeable, then likeable again. Similar could be said for Anders Danielson Lie, who’s portrayal of the boyfriend was the most raw, truthful and entertaining of all the primary characters.