Staying alone on an island watching movies: the funny proposition of a Swedish festival

The Gothenburg festival wants to experience physical distancing to the extreme. The candidate will isolate himself for a week in a lighthouse.

Not a crackle of popcorn, no metallic sound of can opening, but the haunting sound of the waves and the thundering storm. The Gothenburg festival offers a unique experience, which has collected 12,000 entries according to our colleagues from World : spend a week alone, at the top of a lighthouse (the “Pater Noster”), on an islet, to watch sixty films.

The lighthouse is located in the Cattégat, a maritime space that separates Denmark from Sweden, 340 kilometers long. The lone spectator will act as the guinea pig for the festival, which began in its digital version on January 29 and ends on February 8. “[Nous voulions] pushing the principle of physical distancing to the extreme and seeing how the cinema experience is affected ”, details at World Jonas Holmberg, artistic director of this event, the largest of its kind in northern Europe.

Jonas Holmberg also confides that “Internationally known directors, heads of major film institutions” and moviegoers have applied. Random, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe? Or is it Thierry Frémaux, who has come to prepare for the next edition of the Cannes Film Festival?

The Exorcist at church

John Boisen & Björn Fävremark’s trailer sets the tone. A young woman arrives alone in a zodiac. We read at the bottom of the screen that there will be “No phone, no friends, no family. No one other than you ”. With sound effects from horror films. The lighthouse light goes out …. Fortunately, the backdrop is less frightening: The world report that there will indeed be a concierge on the islet. Unless it’s him, the danger?

It is not certain that this spray-soaked experiment will have any real scientific impact on the principle of physical distancing. But broad-minded moviegoers like to spice up their viewing. This is how churches are sometimes requisitioned for horror films. This was the case with The Exorcist in Strasbourg in 2018.


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