Wednesday, December 21, 2011


If you're a fan of directors like Chantal Ackerman, Miguel Gomes or Carlos Reygadas, this is the perfect film for you. A simple yet hauntingly beautiful film about the relationship between humans and nature as well as a study on loneliness and how it isn't necessarily always a bad thing. Imagine all of the slow parts from films like 'The Spirit Of The Beehive', early Jim Jarmusch ('Stranger Than Paradise' and 'Permanent Vacation') and ALL of Richard Linklater's; 'Its Impossible To Learn To Plow By Reading Books' stretched out in to one feature length movie.
In the film our lead (nameless) female character lives by herself in a cabin in the woods. She seems to be happy with her day to day schedule which involves a brief naked swim in the lake behind her house, a hike in the woods and what appears to be an occasional journal entry. Directors; C.W. Winter & Anders Endstrom don't shy away from focusing on banalities and other boring things that most filmmakers (and viewers) would consider pointless (we see barely edited scenes of our main character doing things like grocery shopping, gutting fish, sitting around her living doing nothing, etc). If you were to walk in to 'The Anchorage' in the middle, you'd think you were watching a documentary about a lonely woman living by herself in the woods. Just like other films in the same vein as 'The Anchorage' like; 'Les Rendezvous D' Anna', 'Japon', or 'Foreign Land' (which can be found on the bonus disc of the 'Revanche' criterion DVD), it takes balls to make this kind of a film. Through our main character's voice over narration (which is really the only element of the film that makes it "fiction") we learn that she's a widow. Is this the reason why she lives out in the woods by herself? Does she feel detached from people now that her better half is dead? It's never fully spelled out.
This film's only climactic moment happens early on when our leading lady is visited by what appears to be her son and his girlfriend. Sometimes you never know what to expect from films like 'The Anchorage'. I thought the introduction of two more characters would totally steer the film off in to another direction and disrupt the flow. I thought maybe there would be a murder or someone would go missing in the woods, but instead our visitors fall in to the same pattern as our main character and don't really do much outside of play ping pong and sit around the living room. Eventually her two guests leave, and she goes back to her daily routine.
What 'The Anchorage' lacks in dialogue, it makes up for with beautiful shots of nature that surrounds our main character. I myself am not an outdoorsmen, but after I saw this it made me want to for a hike...

still from Linklater's 'It Impossible To Learn To Plow...'
The Anchorage shares the strongest spiritual connection with Richard Linklater's; 'Its Impossible To Learn To Plow By Reading Books', Both; 'The Anchorge' and 'Its Impossible To Learn...' focus on characters who seem to not only be content with loneliness but have a connection with nature. Much like what CW Winters & Anders Endstrom show in 'The Anchorage', we also see with our nameless main character in 'Its Impossible To Learn...' (played by Richard Linklater himself). In the film we see him interact with very few people (and when we do, the dialogue is intentionally unclear and not important) and do other typically boring things like grocery shop, write in his diary, go on hikes and other random things that would cause someone with A.D.D. to lose their mind. There's an outside chance that a rarely seen 16mm American film like this would make its way to Sweden to influence the filmmakers of 'The Anchorage', but there's too many similarities between the two works to toss up to coincidence.
'The Anchorage' is just one of many great films from two of many great filmmakers that I've discovered thanks to Anthology Film Archives in the last two years. It falls right in line with other Anthology films like 'I Travel Because I have To, I Come Back Because I Love You', 'The Portuguese Nun' and 'Our Beloved Month Of Auguest' (all films that focus more on the characters, surroundings and the unspoken elements instead of the plot). Its very strange that I decided to share my views on this film with you all because no matter how great (or how boring) I may have made this film out to be, there's a strong chance that you may not get to see it outside of some special screening at your local art house theater.


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