Land is such a movie which has many predecessors and yet is completely unique. The story of a middle-aged woman who, after a traumatic event, decides to leave home and home and live “off the grid” – without electricity or running water (so no cell phone), but in her own home. case not even a car to drive from the deserted mountain hut where she took up residence in the nearest village – recalling Wild with Reese Witherspoon or the Austrian The wall. But Earth is even more minimalist. Through rare flashbacks, something is revealed here and there about the motivations of this Edee to leave the world. But the directorial debut of actress Robin Wright, who herself also took on the lead role, takes place mostly in the present and deals with the question: How do you survive?
In a Zoom interview earlier this year, Wright recounts how she after the TV series Card castle (of which she also directed ten episodes) was looking for a screenplay for her real first film: “I read Earth about three years ago, when there was a mass shooting somewhere in the United States almost every day. Almost every morning I woke up wondering how a latecomer would react to the loss of a loved one so violent. Now, having lived through a pandemic for a year, this question is relevant in a different way. What is human resilience? The answer is different for everyone. What moved me Earth is that it does not happen without the help of others, not without empathy and compassion for the other. Concepts that seemed to have been completely wiped out in the United States in recent years. “
It was not immediately clear that Wright himself would play the lead role. It was actually because of this other protagonist: the majestic landscape of the Shoshone National Forest in Canada where the film was supposed to be shot, but where even for a short period of filming, the scenery changes enough to simulate the four seasons. of the movie. Wright: “Once the funding was in place, we had exactly 48 hours to launch and leave for Canada. Then the producers said: you, or it won’t work. “It had pros and cons that she had a role with hardly any text, in which she, as the main character, was mostly on her own. what directors do is figure out how to talk to their actors about what they want to accomplish. “At least I knew that.
She filmed the landscape from Edee’s point of view: “At first she doesn’t see it, then it’s dangerous, and only then, when she starts to come to terms with herself again, can she see how? point it is beautiful. The turning point in his story is his encounter with another lonely soul: the hunter Miguel, played by Mexican actor Demián Bichir (known for his role as Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh’s film This at The Hateful Eight).
Tears for fears
He finds her while the smoke from her chimney is as weak as her life energy. “Why are you helping me?” She will ask him later. “You came to meet me,” is his response, and it shows the naturalness of his friendship with this man, who also carries a secret with him. He really only teaches him to survive. Together their voices echo among the mountains as they sing “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears. It sounds more sentimental than it is, as the film tries to stay away from fast-paced emotions. Even Edee keeps something strange until the end. Wright: “You could even say that there is something very selfish about her withdrawing from the world. She runs away for herself, but also for the people around her. But what I liked is that she is not worth her grief.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of June 16, 2021