EUFF 2016: Our Review Of ‘Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest’

Posted in EUFF 2016, Movies, Theatrical by - November 17, 2016
EUFF 2016: Our Review Of ‘Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest’

In 1935 while recovering from tuberculosis Swiss writer Robert Crottet had a dream.  He dreamt of “little bright-eyed creatures” that seemed to be of northern Finnish origin.  This dream led him to seek out the Skolt Sami people, a semi-Nomadic tribe from Finland’s far north.  What he found was a community at one with the land and the wildlife, isolated from the modern world and desperately clinging to their traditional way of life.

Crottet became fast friends with Kaisa, one of the group elders, who captured his imagination as well as his heart.  He describes her as a vivid storyteller and amazing actress whose fables come alive as she portrays humans, deities and animals alike.  It is this friendship that is the basis for director Katja Gauriloff’s documentary Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest.

The film itself comes alive through home movies and audio recordings as well as archival footage and animation.  It has an almost dreamlike quality that looks like a silent movie and sometimes feels like an avant-garde film.  It is undeniably charming and intriguing, providing a look at a society of people who are probably unknown to most viewers; having said that the film is almost too dreamlike.  Perhaps something is lost in translation but Kaisa’s stories are rambling and difficult to follow and the plot itself feels disjointed and at times confusing, covering too much content in its short running time.

Ultimately the movie will interest lovers of history, storytelling and anthropology but others may find that it is simply not enchanting enough to capture the imagination.

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