Again this year, Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest — including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies. Today he spotlights a selection for November 6: Thelma.
Directed by Joachim Trier
4 p.m. Monday, November 6
"Thelma is a film from Norway that's actually the country's submission for Best Foreign Language Film," says DFF artistic director Brit Withey. "It's an interesting film of the type that you don't necessarily find in film festivals all that often. It's sort of a supernatural, paranormal thriller, but a really intriguing one."
The plot involves "a young girl who's raised in a very strict, religious household," Withey goes on. "She's going off to college, and this will be the first time she's not living at home, the first time she's making friends outside of the family, the first time she's having an alcoholic drink or going to a party. There are a lot of major things colliding."
Before long, the protagonist gets involved in a romantic relationship with another young woman, and according to Withey, "that brings on all kinds of conflicting thoughts — and then she has a seizure."
Here's the trailer for Thelma:
These seizures continue, and, Withey says, "she slowly starts to realize that when she's having them, she can kind of manipulate the outside world. She can change things she doesn't like, and that becomes scary and dangerous to those around her. If she's mad or confused or pissed off — whatever her mood happens to be — she changes reality."
These elements might seem familiar at first blush, but Withey stresses that director Trier makes them feel fresh. "He's an amazingly talented filmmaker, and the last three Norwegian movies submitted for Best Foreign Language Film have been his."
He adds that Thelma "is beautifully shot and a notch above that style of genre filmmaking. There's nothing small or trivial about it at all."
Click to access all of the film festival's selections and to purchase tickets.