(Femme Film Fest 2021)
This 17-minute Norwegian short starts off by introducing quite the usual dysfunctional family, in which the parents attempt to organise the ideal camping trip in order to bring them closer to their children. By working together in setting up the tent, they hope to strengthen their bond and reconnect emotionally, despite their eldest daughter seeming rather uninterested in their efforts. Consequently, the plot becomes a useful social commentary, evolving around an idea as simple as the difficulty of maintaining the relationship with your close ones intact. Supposedly, this recurrent issue does not get solved by only waiting for the optimal moment to open up to one another. The intriguing plot development acquires form as the characters of the film come to that realisation.
“The Tent” (originally Teltet), written and directed by Rebecca Figenschau, has been nominated for two prizes in the context of participating in the Nordisk Panorama and the Encounters International Film Festival, with the latter scoring this short an award during the international competition.
As it usually goes, technology and younger generation’s obsession with getting immersed into their mobile screens play a decisive part in this family’s disjuncture and a problem this common will surely expand gradually into more and more disputes. The script proposes a vast array of dilemmas that have to be resolved by the characters, although the evolution of the storyline seems to be slow-paced and provides little satisfaction in terms of complexity. Perhaps a restructuring of the script could have given each protagonist more time to display their life’s obstacles and thus, the short could have obtained its missing element.
The overall experience is meant to take an intimate look at a family’s disagreement, following each character’s conflicting perspective of the others, figuratively forcing them to work through their hardships together. Even though the camping trip is considered to be a failure by all four of them, the parents, as well as the children should be left with a relevant resolve after their seemingly awakening excursion.
The emotional intensity in the conflict scenes could have also benefitted from imagining and visualising a deeper understanding of the people’s background, offering more information on their addictions, interests and routines. The acting performances by Sigurd Myhre, Christina Ørbekk Nikolaisen, Erica Cook and Christian Magnus Vangen were complementary to the main narrative and happened to boost the audience’s sense of investment and curiosity in the story. Apart from these, the short could be viewed as a good way of experimenting with low-budget filming and scripting, as it exhibits a general issue popular with many families, while attempting to search for and provide answers to solve it.