Highlights of the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2021 | Festivals and awards

Gritt pinned all his hopes for the future on a proposal to the Department of Culture for a city-wide, ritual-based performance piece called “The White Inflammation,” but it was rejected. Homeless after going missing from a concert in an apartment, she works temporary jobs, including as a personal assistant to a successful actress with Down’s syndrome, and later, as a trainee gofer and sweeping assistant in the theater of Oslo avant-garde. Much to her regret, she remains terribly invisible to those she would claim to be her peers.

Across the film’s five chapters, Gritt aims for a transformation that is increasingly sabotaged by her propensity to undermine or betray the light and improvised support systems she has left in her life. Director Guttormsen skillfully uses a large supporting cast, with many characters seemingly playing each other. A realistic glimpse into Oslo’s arts and theater community serves to anchor the film, even as Gritt’s inner vision of herself detaches from reality, often expressed through flawless use of disorienting cuts and of a constantly moving camera.

Traversed by misguided adventures that leave serious damage to those who trusted him in its wake, and driven by fantasies, lies and self-invention, Gritt hits rock bottom. In the final chapter, the film enters a surreal contemplative mode, with its human wreckage of a protagonist landing in a tiny snow-capped hut somewhere in the depths of the Nordic woods. Through a sequence of seasons where the landscape itself becomes her palette, she creates a theater of one, formulating elixirs, improvising a nature-based mythology accompanied by rituals and ornaments, until the beginning summer marks a start.

Guttmorsen does not trivialize his account with the implication that Gritt, standing at a rural bus stop, survived a trial and is now ready for her birth moment. Rather, Gritt is ready to return to the world as an unknown entity, with the future and his elusive place in him a blank slate.

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