The Mountain
Fjellet

DIRECTOR: Ole Giæver

A lesbian couple hikes through the vast landscape of a Norwegian mountain range in an attempt to thaw their frozen relationship. Superbly observed moments—the criticism barely camouflaged as advice about the best way to put up a tent, the utter sullenness contained in the line “Pass the salt, please,” beg the question: what are these two doing together? Why does Solveig put up with relentless sniping from girlfriend Nora? Why was Nora forced into the trip only by an ultimatum from Solveig?

The endless wind and quivering vegetation underline the emotional suspense as Nora and Solveig circle around the tragedy which has blighted their relationship. The sparse script reveals little and tension builds through gestures as small as a private smoke or an aborted caress. As the two women continue their solitary trek and the stunning backdrop grows white with snow and frost, their journey is revealed as a kind of quest, an attempt to salvage the love they once shared and perhaps build a new future together.

Actors Ellen Dorrit Petersen (Solveig) and Marta Magnusdotter Solem (Nora) prove well up to the challenge of carrying this two-character film, particularly Solem, who as Nora manages to be both bitchy and vulnerable. Nora’s face has a lived-in beauty that matches the austere landscape (evocatively photographed by Øystein Mamen). Winter camping never looked so good, nor proved so rewarding.

— MONICA NOLAN

In Norwegian with English subtitles.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F132

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