SJU MIL / FIFTY MILES
Updated: May 6, 2021
Directed by Eilif Bremer Landsend
REVIEW BY CLAIRE ELAINE, PRINDIE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
If you look at Selvær on a map, you may, as I did, feel surprised that life exists on this island measuring just over 8000 feet in length. Bearing its shores to the Norwegian Sea - only buffered by dots of land as if the heads of giants are peaking their eyes above the deep blue to see the world beyond.
SJU MIL/FIFTY MILES quickly shows you that life does indeed exist on the island. It may be a life that doesn't look exactly the same as mine or yours, but it is life, nonetheless, with its hardships - and it is beautiful, not despite its simplicity, but because of it.
The tapestry of Turid Myhre's life is hung beautifully amongst the melodies of Jazz musician Daniel Herskedal, which, for me, immediately acted as some glue, some form of fusion of myself to Turid and the landscape that holds this story.
"Everything has something exciting about it, if you just pay attention." (04:02)
The director, Eilif Bremer Landsend, seems to have taken this to heart in the way this short was filmed; fixed steadily on the subjects, the hand-held shots allow the moments to breathe and give us a chance to study these moments. Landsend has filmically stitched together a tapestry of his own - quite literally, as this was shot on 16mm celluloid.
There is a (perhaps not-so-curious) absence of other people physically in this story. We hear tales from Turid about those that have passed and about those around her now, people who she will one day leave behind, but we are never given any evidence of their existence. Because of this - although she seems so alive and full of vitality for one her age - the story almost feels as if she has already passed and is giving us an account of her life from another world. One way or another, the director's decision here leaves me feeling acutely aware of the aloneness of life - that, at the core of it, we depart this world as we came into it.
Here aloneness does not equate to loneliness, though. We are as individual beings, made up of cells and atoms that are simply separate from all else. So this seeming assurance in Turid's aloneness feels more like a claiming of her being.
"Now my name is Turid Myhre" (03:15)
...she says as she breaks the fourth wall and makes me sure she feels concrete in her knowing of her world and of herself. I find myself believing in the moments that follow: she could be happy here in her place for centuries more if life would allow.