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'Thale'

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Reviewed by Richard Whittaker, Fri., March 16, 2012

SXSW Film

Thale

Emerging Visions
D: Aleksander L. Nordaas; with Silje Reinåmo, Jon Sigve Skard, Erlend Nervold

As crime scene cleanup professionals, anxious Elvis (Nervold) and laconic Leo (Skard) specialize in odd discoveries in abandoned houses. Even by their standards, a cellar containing a naked woman (Reinåmo), old electronics, and a heavily locked fridge are an oddity – unless you know the legend of the Huldra. Writer/director Aleksander L. Nordaas joins the new wave of Scandinavian filmmakers tapping into the region's icy mythology. But unlike Rare Exports' Santa or Trollhunter's bridge-dwelling stars, these tailed denizens of the Norwegian forests may be a mystery to everyone except the most learned cultural anthropologists. While the story steers superficially close to the supernihilist Dead Girl, its Scandinavian conviction – that the otherworldly is as magical as it is terrifying – gives it unexpected heart. There is a wild joy beneath its eeriness and malice, like a hint of sunlight through frost-covered trees.


Saturday, March 17, 11:45pm, Alamo Lamar

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