THALE *** Norway 2012 76 mins

A curious small-scale, low-budget latter-day Norwegian dark fairy tale centering around a pair of employees for the “No Shit Cleaning Service” – crime scene cleaners with issues :one is a young father, the other has lung cancer. In the course of their work, they find a strange, feral, naked woman in the bathtub of an abandoned house. Living on canned food
and seeming to be some kind of test subject, “Thale” is scared, sings what she has been taught and has a place where a tail once was. She also warns “the others” are coming. Uniquely morose throughout, this genuinely strange movie is dominated by the other-worldly performance of Silje Reinamo in the title role : sensuous, child-like and violent, with the ability to impose her thoughts and experiences upon others, she is both victim and aggressor, a mass of fascinating contradictions. Pivoting around the Norwegian folk tales of forest-dwelling creatures named “Hudra”, the film has fleeting black humour but is largely melancholic, and commendably low-key. A shame it seems to end just as we’re getting somewhere really interesting – but it’s a rare film that leaves you wanting more.

Review by Steven West

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