SXSW FILM 2015
By Don Simpson | March 21, 2015
Director: Anna Sofie Hartmann
Writer: Anna Sofie Hartmann
Starring: Annika Nuka Matthiasen, Sofia Nolsøe Mikkelsen, Laura Gustavsen, Sarai Randzorff, Sabine Madsen, Matthias Arid Olsen, Mike Hansen
Anna Sofie Hartmann’s Limbo opens as a high school drama teacher, Karen (Sofia Nolsøe Mikkelsen), coaches her students in rehearsals for an upcoming production of Antigone. The dramatically-stylized sequence seems to channel Jean-Luc Godard, overtly allowing Hartmann to discuss her sociopolitical intensions for this film. Focusing primarily on gender issues, Hartmann uses Karen’s intellectualized readings of theater and art to establish strong comparisons to the male-oriented world of cinema.
Teetering on the verge of an experimental narrative, Limbo never feels bound to its protagonists; Hartmann constantly shifts focus between Karen and Sara (Annika Nuka Mathiassen), a determined and intelligent student who is unrequitedly infatuated with Karen. Limbo also enjoys taking long, contemplative interludes that quietly survey the natural and industrial environments of this small, culturally-limited Danish town. Relying heavily upon its sugar factory (which seems to get as much screen time as Hartmann’s protagonists), the socioeconomic climate of Nakskov features a fairly flattened class structure in which everyone appears to be equal. Limbo is as much an anthropological study as it is a narrative. The “b-roll” footage is utilized by Hartmann to establish a strong sense of place, because it is the isolating environment and surrounding community that shapes and informs the protagonists.