Dark Blossom | Review | Hot Docs Documentary Festival 2021

Through the smoke and skulls comes director Frigge Fri, sharing the story of three friends found through their shared experience of finding space to fit in in a world that doesn't invite or celebrate difference. Wishing to emphasize the importance of community and likemindedness, Frigge Fri plunges their audience into the theatrics of goth culture, which makes for incredible cinema.

Josephine, Jay and Nightmare have a unique bond. They stand out when they walk through the suburban streets of Denmark, and people are unafraid of sneaking a second look at their grandeur. Fri normalizes the image by immersing themselves in the world of taxidermy and goth-meets in the park. It runs like fiction, feeling surreal in its careful orchestration because it feels written in a way dissimilar to reality. We watch them grow together and apart through their similarities and differences and laugh with them as they give one another stick-and-pokes and lie to their parents through the phone. It's a real-life coming of age story, where we see them fall platonically in love with one another and become a family through their unconventionality. Fri also shows us life for them outside of this bond, contrasting how they fit into normality outside of their bond.

The film is shot with a contemporary aesthetic, slipping in and out of experimental imagery that floats us through the minds of its subjects, immersing us in their subconscious. For 80 minutes, we indulge the luxury of being part of their community, watching the intimacies of their friendship, including the heartache. With how focused it is, the eventual break down of their relationships feels inevitable, the same way all friends grow together and apart at various times in our lives. Fri plays with the contrast of the way each character handles this breakdown, demonstrating it through visuals as well as through language, and if the subjects felt intimidated by the constant voyeurism of Fri's lens, then it is never once shown. 

Dark Blossom is something quite special. When it slips into its dreamlike ending, it feels like the audience has lived those months with them. Fri brings us full circle, and the beautiful way in which they track that journey is commendable. 

Hot Docs starts on April 29th, running till May 9th - tickets are available via www.hotdocs.ca 

Hot Docs is geo-locked to Canadian audiences. 

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