Hippies never die. They just disappear into the woods. And documentary filmmakers Robert Cannan and Corinna McFarlane discovered an entire nest at Angsbacka’s “No Mind” Festival.
A summer long festival of chanting, performing art, meditation, and self-analysis, “No Mind” is Richard Dawkins worst nightmare, a place where festival goers chew down on jumbo sized portions of mumbo.
Cannan and McFarlane carefully select a cross-section of personalities to focus on, most notably the stocky, vaguely threatening, Viking harbour master Siddhartha, the almost self-parodic American hippy wannabe Ljus, and Regina Lund, a celebrity singer in Sweden.
“I was going to be here yesterday, but I was singing at a lesbian wedding,” declares Lund, summing up the self-absorption that permeates the festival, where everyone is a unique snowflake craving nothing less than adulation from the universe.
This is hidden behind sharing circles and group meditation, with people busily trying to think of something clever to say rather than taking stock of the spectacular Swedish countryside. The handsome photography doesn’t make the same mistake.
For a while Aussie rugby player Nick is the audience anchor, dismissing the whole event as a cult populated by tree huggers (at one point they literally do hug trees), and it is almost creepy when he begins buying into the philosophy.
Ultimately, “No Mind” is Match.com tarted up with dimestore psychology and adolescent spiritualism. Siddhartha talks endlessly about the search for his “goddess” (i.e, someone to cop off with), Nick lightens up when he meets a girl, and the near tragic grandmother Mervi (unable to muster saliva for the past 15 years) appears to be Finland’s chief export in loneliness.
Sometimes indulgent (Cannan and McFarlane don’t question how effective this self-help gathering is), often hilarious (the three-hour sweat lodge stint is priceless), and quite unnerving (witness the troubling, violent lakeside “purging” session), you half expect Lars Von Trier to jump from behind a bush, shouting, “Fooled you!”
But, Three Miles North of Molkom proves truth is stranger than even fiction the Great Dane can dream up.