Out of Nature follows the weekend hike of a middle-aged working family man in the Norwegian wilderness. Rather than partying with his colleagues or bonding with his wife and child, the 30-something-year-old sets off on a solo expedition to receive a brief respite from his (seemingly) mundane life to negotiate his muddled thoughts towards his job, relationship and family. While not a whole lot happens in terms of momentous events, the film gives us undisclosed access into Martin’s thoughts and emotions, traversing the fragile mindset of an urban man who feels alienated and alone in his modern existence.
The film is filled with taboo fantasies, embarrassing events and unspeakable thoughts – the type that we all experience but never divulge to others. It is in the universality of these ignominious musings that the true value of the film lies. It poignantly captures the first world problems of contemporary existence and reveals the selfishness, lust, envy, fear, guilt and anger that everyone is sure to have experienced at one point or another.
From masturbating over the local shopkeeper to wondering what life would be like if his wife were dead or he in a wheelchair, the narcissistic notions reign free as Martin runs alone through the pristine wilderness. Outside of pressures of the daily grind, Martin takes the viewer on a journey of all-too-familiar nonsensical pondering.
Throughout his trip, Martin experiences an unfortunate wetting the bed scenario, an ill-timed encounter with a local hunter and an all-too-tempting meeting with two young sisters, all of which help him negotiate his inner feelings. By immersing himself in nature (at one stage truly becoming one with the Earth) Martin begins to realise his own faults and lack of appreciation for his life, and the people in them.
Ole Giæver wrote, produced and starred in the film, to much critical acclaim. Out of Nature was officially selected for the Toronto Film Festival 2015, won Best European Film at the Berlin Film Festival 2014 and Giæver took out Best Actor at the Trondheim International Film Festival 2014.
Out of Nature is odd, it is awkward, and it is hilarious; but it is unashamedly honest and raw. Everyone can interpret the film differently, however, the humour and profound messages are undeniable.
Perhaps Giæver paints human relationships as two floating shoes on the surface of a river – constantly meandering back and forth and sometimes requiring a small shove in the right direction. Perhaps he wished to depict that at times we must return to the roots of the Earth and our basic human instincts to gain perspective of our own lives. Maybe he wanted to communicate humans’ uncontrollable sexual appetites and the importance of acknowledging (but opportunely denying) our natural compulsions. Or possibly the film aims to highlight the importance of appreciating the relationships in our lives – whether with our partner, children or friends – and giving these bonds the nourishment they need and deserve.
Perhaps Out of Nature conveys all of the above and more. Be sure to watch it to experience this rare, bizarre and enlightening journey for yourself.
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