'North of the Sun' shines
Who, at some point, hasn’t dreamt of running away to the beach,
building a house right there and living life on one’s own terms?
In “North of the Sun,” two longtime friends make this dream a reality, and their story is nothing short of captivating. It’s a joyful, beautifully filmed tale of chasing a dream, bolstered by two likeable leads and an organic story that unfolds on its own.
Norwegian filmmakers and stars Inge Wegge, 25, and Jørn Ranum, 22, open by saying it all started out as a crazy idea. Having discovered an uninhabited, isolated bay on a remote, arctic island in Northern Norway — north of the sun — the duo decides to trade email and cell phones for surfboards and seclusion.
“Could we build a hut and surf through the entire winter?” they say of their journey. “This isn’t some big winter survival challenge. We’re simply doing this to have a cool time.”
It’s also a cold time, as the two face nine months of Nordic, arctic winter. Although they came prepared with a stockpile of expired frozen food stuffs and essential building tools, to survive, they’ll need shelter. As such, they build a meager cabin (that looks endearingly like a hobbit hole) entirely of beach flotsam, which coincides with another aspect of their plan — to keep their private playground pristine.
With litter constantly washing up on shore, they conservatively estimate they’ll clean, at least, one ton of trash during their stay. It ends up being three. Much of this, however, is used in their day to day life on the beach, e.g. plastic bottles for insulation, buoy floats for wheelbarrow wheels and an oil drum for a fireplace.
It doesn’t take long for Inge and Jørn to adjust to life on their own schedule, especially when it means taking advantage of some fantastic surfing. Using high-definition cameras and a paraglider for some gorgeous aerial shots, they effectively capture their recreational exploits and draw viewers into this dream-like world.
But they’re not entirely cut off. They’ve left their van with a somewhat nearby farmer, who also shares his electricity to help them charge camera batteries and the like. They also encounter a Finnish doctor on a walkabout, who decides to stay a week and share his company, some surfing and his rum. Plus, Jørn isn’t above climbing a mountain for a quick phone call to his girlfriend, who’s traveling abroad in New Zealand; nor are they ashamed to visit town to restock on food. Their entire journey is by choice, after all.
And “North of the Sun” is a spectacular choice, brimming with excitement and contagious enthusiasm. It’s no surprise this Norwegian gem took the grand prize at 2013’s Banff Mountain Film Festival, and it’s especially fortunate that it’ll be screened in Boone this Saturday, as part of the festival’s world tour stop at Appalachian State University.
“North of the Sun” can also be found online at Vimeo.com. Those searching for the beach, though, might want to look elsewhere.
“We won’t tell you where this is,” Wegge says. “We want to give others the chance to find their own paradise.”