Review: ‘The Mountain’

Simmering resentments and raging hormones dominate this estrogen-heavy two-hander.

Simmering resentments and raging hormones dominate the drama in “The Mountain,” as a bickering lesbian couple try to save their relationship by revisiting the site of a tragedy two years before. Debuting Norwegian helmer-writer Ole Glaever reworks themes from his short films, such as grief and miscommunication, in this estrogen-heavy two-hander, which should be in demand at gay fests and femme-centered events.

As the backstories of tightly wound, dark-haired Nora (theater thesp Marie Magnusdotter Solem, the helmer’s wife) and scatty blonde Solveig (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) are gradually revealed over the course of a four-day, very Norwegian hiking and camping trek, the majestic snowy landscape becomes a supporting character in the narrative, reflecting their inner emotions. A little of this conceit goes a long way, however. Filled with closeups of talking heads, what could have been a visually oppressive chamber piece gets a free aesthetic boost from the wild nature in the background. Thesps convincingly evince a range of emotions, but montage and framing keep viewers aware that they’re always watching a performance (an effect furthered by the women’s ever-perfect lipstick). Shot without government support, tech package is pro.

The Mountain

Norway

Production

A Euforia release of a Ferdinand Films, 4 1/2 Fiksjon production. (International sales: Bavaria Film, Munich.) Produced by Ole Glaever, Karin Julsrud. Directed, written by Ole Glaever.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Oystein Mamen; editors, Wibecke Ronseth, Astrid S. Johansen; music, Ola Flottum; costume designer, Itonje Soimer Guttarmsen. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama Special), Feb. 12, 2011. Running time: 73 MIN.

With

Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Marie Magnusdotter Solem.

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