out of Five
Running time: 112
Entertaining and frequently amusing documentary, though the filmmakers are rather too in love with the festival and the central journey is unconvincing as a result.
What's it all about?
Directed by Robert Cannan and Corrina Villari-McFarlane, Three Miles North of Molkom is a documentary about One Mind Fest, a Swedish New Age healing festival that's held annually in the woods at Angbacka, which is - yes! - three miles north of Molkom. We're quickly introduced to various tree-hugging types, including lecherous alpha male Siddhartha, blonde children's care worker Marit, Hawaiian “raised by goats” hippie Ljus, middle-aged retired careers advisor Mervi, and unhappy father Peter, who has brought his two sons in an attempt to escape an unpleasant domestic situation back home.
Fortunately for the film, there's also Nick, a no-nonsense Australian rugby teacher who wound up at the festival because a friend recommended it and who cheerfully announces to the group that his first thoughts were, “Oh fuck, it's a cult.” However, over the course of several different exercises including fire-walking, tantric sex workshops, Finding Your Inner Power Animal, Primal Screaming and actual, literal tree-hugging, Nick gradually loses his scepticism and even ends up giving his own mini-class called The No-Worries Workshop.
Shot on high-definition video, the film looks gorgeous, thanks to Joseph Russell's colourful cinematography. It's also extremely funny in places, albeit in a rather snarky laugh-at-the-crazy-hippies sort of way; the channelling power as self-defence workshop is a particular highlight, as is Nick's workshop where he gets them all to repeat phrases like “No, you're all right,” and “We're not here to fuck spiders.”
The main problem is that the movie doesn't sell us on Nick's conversion – whatever it is that he gets out of the festival, we don't see it, so the effect is kind of like watching someone getting brainwashed. (It doesn't help that the scenes of half-naked hippies rolling around together are uncomfortably reminiscent of The Shunting in Brian Yuzna's Society.) Also, the film is at least 20 minutes too long thanks to needlessly lengthy sequences involving some of the New Age sessions.
Three Miles North of Molkom is an entertaining documentary that's never less than watchable, though it wears out its welcome before the end and the central journey is both unconvincing and vaguely unsatisfying.
Three Miles North Of Molkom (15)