thu 29/07/2021

Three Miles North of Molkom | reviews, news & interviews

Three Miles North of Molkom

Three Miles North of Molkom

The No Mind festival - is this really a documentary?

Nigel Tufnel is alive and well and living three miles north of Molkom. That’s not strictly true, of course – the guitarist with the legendary rock band Spinal Tap is on an endless global tour promoting the album “Smell the Glove” and still seeking an explanation for the death of the group’s first drummer, who perished in a “bizarre gardening accident”. However, the mumbo-jumbo spirit of the man who famously declared that the dials on his amplifiers “all go up to 11” certainly hangs over this weird and wonderful location, which lies three miles north of Molkom in Angsbacka, Sweden.

This is the setting of Three Miles North of Molkom, Corinna Villari-McFarlane and Robert Cannan’s captivating new fly-on-the-tepee-wall documentary.  The film charts the events of the 2007 No Mind Festival, the 12th annual gathering of what seems to be every tree-hugger in the Western Hemisphere.

This is a place where, like Nigel, everyone speaks fluent hippie gibberish. No one flinches when people start referring to “the goddess drawing me here” or explain that “I was singing at a lesbian wedding and was delayed.” At one point a festival-goer gives a friend the ultimate compliment: “You’re a planet.”

At No Mind, you can attend workshops with titles such as “Know Your Power Animal,” “The Sweat Lodge” and “Yellow Bamboo” (no, me neither). You can also throw off your clothes for no discernible and no one bats an eyelid – thereby fulfilling every tabloid stereotype about Sweden.

The British debutant directors, who shot 150 hours of material at the festival, have unearthed several characters who would not look out of place in a spoof documentary and who are (often unwittingly) utterly hilarious. They zoom in on one particular gaggle of misfits who gather every day for a “sharing group”.

The filmmakers have also hit on exactly the right person to be our guide through Touchy-Feely Central. Nick is an almost clichéd bloke-ish back-packing Aussie rugby coach who has wound up at Angsbacka in a vain pursuit of a gorgeous Scandanavian girl – who at the festival would no doubt be called “a goddess”.

He came to No Mind “not knowing that it is led by a bunch of tree-huggers.” Now he’s our eyes and ears, looking on with increasing incredulity as his fellow festival-goers writhe around on the floor in a shamanic daze and go all Sting on him at a Tantric workshop. “Holy shit!” Nick exclaims. “It’s a cult. They’ve all come here to sing and chant and whine, and I hate it!”

Nick is an absolute screen natural. He is very much like Paul Hogan’s naïve larrikin in those lager adverts  - remember the one where he went to the ballet and, seeing a male dancer for the first time, blurted out, “Streuth, he’s got no strides on!”?

What is commendable about Three Miles North of Molkom is that the filmmakers are ultimately open-minded about No Mind. They have come not to take the mick, but to soak up and then reflect the experience. And as Nick is gradually won over by the hippies, so are we. In the end, we are seduced by the tree-huggers, even the ones who go up to 11.

Three Miles North of Molkom is released this week

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