Every summer, Angsbacka, Sweden, plays host to the No Mind Festival, a free-spirited gathering to help people tap into nature while exploring love and humanity. Here we meet Siddharta, who's clearly attended before; Mervi, a grandmother from Finland who's desperate to have an experience; Ljus, a wannabe hippie who's almost cartoonish in his overreactions; Marit, a gorgeous blonde who discovers her inner exhibitionist; Peter, a father recovering from a traumatic year; and Regina, a big Swedish star trying to escape the paparazzi.
Finally there's Nick, an Australian who's both sceptical and surprised by what he finds.
The filmmakers shoot this with lush camerawork and densely mixed sound that puts us right into the touchy-feely atmosphere. It's also cleverly edited to capture the colourful aspects of each person, as well as workshops from tree-hugging and fire-walking to the sweat lodge and tantric massage. And the most humorous aspect of it all is the way everyone is so sincere about it all, diving in without hesitation as if this is the most meaningful moment of their lives.
So it's a good thing the filmmakers discovered a doubter in their midst, because Nick's hilariously cynical observations put everything into badly needed perspective. Even when he begins to realise that there's something valuable going on here, he maintains his balance in a way no one else does.
This also lets the filmmakers resist all of the peace-and-love earnestness. For the most part.
If the movie has a flaw, it's in the way it refuses to truly question the methods of the workshop leaders. An indulgent song score and a willingness to let people ramble on without counterpoint kind of undermines the documentary format in which the directors are just showing us what they found. As a result, the film starts feeling repetitive as it progresses through a series of navel-gazing set pieces, and we don't care about anyone but Nick, because the rest of them seem so full of themselves. But along the way, there are so many raucous scenes that it's both entertaining and eye-opening.
Run time: 107 mins
In Theaters: Friday 18th September 2009
Distributed by: Metrodome Distribution
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
IMDB: 6.7 / 10
Director: Corinna Villari-McFarlane, Robert Cannan
Producer: Corinna Villari-McFarlane, Robert Cannan
Starring: Regina Lund as Herself
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