Hot Docs 2016 Review: Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest
Perhaps feeling at times like an NFB documentary on acid, (and yes, this is very much a compliment), Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest presents a one of a kind moviegoing experience during Hot Docs.
Katja Gaurilofff’s very personal story is obviously better lived than described, and this is the kind of film that will certainly affect some more than others, (this reviewer sits right in the middle, admiring its vision and authenticity perhaps a little more than its finished product).
The story is ostensibly about author Robert Crottet having a dream-induced vision, which leads him to the enchanted forest within the Skolt Sámi within modern Finland, and to Kaisa, the filmmaker’s great-grandmother. This story very much belongs to Kaisa, who is presented a spiritual figure but also archivally, through animation, through fragments and in dreams.
Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest seems to be very much about peeking in on someone else’s story (both for Crottet and especially for the viewer) and requires a great deal of submission to an understanding of magic and reality (though not so much magic realism, which is another culture entirely). This film requires a firm commitment but the reward offered could be especially satisfying.