The launch event for this year’s See Festival was a showing of a feature-length documentary made by two local film-makers, Corinna McFarlane and Robert Cannan. The subect was Sweden’s No Mind Festival, where every year thousands of open-minded people converge to escape everyday life, and take part in a variety of interesting activities. These ranged from singing, dancing and hugging, to walking barefoot across a fire, and sitting naked in what was basically a massive oven for as long as you could without passing out!
Festival-goers were separated into sharing groups, and the film focuses on one group in particular. This includes Ljus, a Swedish-Hawaiian hippy whose name is Swedish for ‘light’ and grew up only speaking to animals, an older man called Siddharta who was looking for his ‘goddess’, a Swedish popstar and actress called Regina Lund, and an Australian rugby-playing backpacker called Nick who thought he was going to the Swedish Glastonbury. On the first night, realising this was something quite different, he complained to the cameras that he was surrounded by a bunch of tree-huggers. Little did he know, the next day’s task would indeed be to choose a tree and get cosy with it!
This unusual festival was bound to be an interesting documentary subject, but it was the brilliant mix of characters, and the way they interacted with each other, which made this film so enjoyable. It was also one of the funniest films I’ve seen in ages. Nick’s bemused commentary was hilarious, and the Swedish hippies also provided some great one-liners, although often unintentionally.
It only goes to show that you can spend months preparing a script and finding the perfect actors for the roles, but sometimes just observing real people in a real (although unusual) situation makes far better viewing. I found it fascinating, and would definitely recommend you to see it when it gets a wider release in July this year.