Urszula Antoniak/ Netherlands, Ireland 2009/ 85 min/ tbc
An eerily quiet and sparse film, Nothing Personal charts a young woman’s lonely pilgrimage to the wild and inhospitable west coast of Ireland after an undisclosed trauma. Whether punishing herself, or trying to recover, the loneliness and wildness of the landscape reflects perfectly the turbulence within her, and makes for a visually arresting as well as moving film.
We never find out much about Anne (Lotte Verbeek). A removed wedding ring and an empty house in Amsterdam are all we see, and that’s just how Anne would want it. Whatever happened, it has made her shun human contact, and she does this exceptionally well, even with Martin (Stephen Rea), the man she starts working for in exchange for food. Martin is withdrawn from society too, but not by choice. His wife has recently died and he too seems lost in the wilderness. What starts as a strained tolerance of each other gradually grows into curiosity, friendship and even love. Cooking and eating become central metaphors for the gradual nourishment of their souls, and as Martin teaches Anne the ways of this land, its rhythm and rough beauty begin to offer a certain comfort. The idea that no man is an island is not new, but watching two frozen souls thaw through those ‘tiny acts of kindness and of love’ is tender and engaging, and make the point that you cannot live life at a distance forever. Like Anne in the garden, you have to get your hands dirty, or there is no point in living.
Showing @ Cineworld 22nd June 18:00 and 23rd June 17.35