Some of the best films in the fringes of science fiction are the dramas that take one small futuristic concept and own it, infusing it into real-life situations. Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind is a spectacular example. It’s very possible Swedish director Henrik Hellström’s second English-language effort, The Quiet Roar, will soon enter that cinematic pantheon. This new trailer intimates an emotional character study wading in equal parts regret and longing. And to think, the film can also be described as “a woman trips on LSD and travels through time” without being disingenuous. Far out and insular all at once.
In The Quiet Roar, Evabritt Strandberg (Masculin Féminin) stars as Marianne, a 68-year-old woman facing death after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. She finds alternative therapy in a luxury bus with a counselor named Eva (Hanna Schygulla), who treats Marianne with meditation and LSD. Instead of just a mind trip, Marianne takes a physical voyage into her past, where she meets herself as a 25-year-old (Joni Francéen). Her marriage has not yet ended, and her child has not yet become estranged. With this unique form of hindsight, Marianne talks to the couple about the end of their relationship. After that I’m not sure what happens. It would be fun if her husband was actually just a hallucination of a goblin the entire time, but this film has undoubtedly set a higher standard for itself.
The central conceit may be tightly wound, but Hellström directed a wide-open film full of lush Norwegian landscapes and images of the undisturbed countryside. There’s no better way to enjoy a little LSD than out in nature, though the trouble of having to deal with both an impossibility and an emotional breakthrough are bound to take your enjoyment down a notch. The combination of beautiful locations and drama-over-gimmick is reminiscent of two recent films, Sloan U’Ren’s Dimensions and Julian Pölsler’s The Wall, the former similarly deals with time travel and romance in its own unique way.
Hellström’s previous feature, 2009’s Burrowing, also focused on a particular location, but followed a young boy observing the gradual decline of his neighborhood. You can watch that trailer below to get a better feel for the filmmaker’s work.
The Idyll production will soon premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival, and will see a Swedish release in April. No U.S. distribution has been secured just yet, but keep an eye on its official website, as it could very well be the off-centered dark horse of this year’s critically acclaimed pics. Or maybe I’m just trippin’.