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Film Editorial

phoenixfilm2.jpg Phoenix

Director: Camilla Strøm Henriksen

Stars: Maria Bonnevie, Sverrir Gudnason, Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin, Casper Falck-Løvås

Norwegian writer-director Camilla Strom-Henriksen’s striking debut is a deft weaving together of kitchen sink realism and psychological drama with fantasy and horror elements. Jill (Thedin) is a girl approaching her fourteenth birthday, but due to the mental state of her mother Astrid (Bonnevie) she has the responsibility of raising her younger brother Bo (Thedin) while attending to her mum’s mood swings. When Astrid secures an interview for a job at an art gallery, Jill, mindful of her mother’s precarious state, makes sure nothing disturbs her equilibrium. Then her errant unreliable father calls to tell Jill that he will be visiting her fourteenth birthday party. As the pressures mount her anxieties and fears begin to manifest themselves via nightmarish visions. This is a poignant depiction of a resilient teen stepping up to parental responsibilities in a dysfunctional family, and while Henriksen cannot quite sustain the dark fairy tale spell, or deliver a satisfying conclusion, a remarkable central performance marks Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin out as a name to watch in future.