What begins as a sort of Nordic Straight Story ends up in a thoroughly uplifting and original “self-improvement-through-skiing” message. Jomar (Christiansen) has had successive breakdowns, and is now languishing in a permanently depressed state and working as the caretaker of a small local ski lift. It takes him hours to plug in an electrical appliance and the only reason why he begins to go anywhere is because he has carelessly set his abode on fire.
So he sets out, armed with a snowmobile and a gallon of booze, to find a child he hadn’t known he had. On the way, he has a series of potentially life-altering encounters, from a prescient girl who lets him stay in a crawlspace at her house to a lonely young man with an interesting drinking game. They all prepare him for what is his ultimate healing experience: skiing through a virginal landscape. When he descends the slope that leads to his former lover and her child, he practically takes wings. It doesn’t really matter to know how the story ends - we know he’ll be alright.
NORTH (NORD) (Norway 2009) Directed by Rune Denstad Langlo with Anders Baasmo Christiansen. Norwegian OV with German subtitles. Starts January 7. Rating: 4/4