Gregor Schmidinger’s debut feature Nevrland provides us with a complex and intoxicating mix of themes. Its narrative takes us from modern masculinity to mental health and sexuality. While at the same time taking us on a journey from adolescence to adulthood unlike anything else within the LGBTQ genre. Here, Schmidinger combines stark visual imagery and exceptional sound design to create a film that wraps you in a void of reality and fantasy. Our journey, embedded in the thoughts and emotions of young Jakob (Simon Frühwirth).
Nevrland cleverly plays with themes of family, suppressed desire and fantasy, while equally never allowing for simple answers on the journey Jakob takes. In turn, this allows the audience to decide the outcomes and messages attached to the story. Here sexual desire merges with scenes of animal slaughter as the young male body becomes a motif for fresh meat in an online community of instant desire.
However, the film is at its most fascinating when exploring mental health, desire and self-identity—using a kaleidoscope of powerful imagery to convey the inner turmoil and conflict of teenage life. Schmidinger confidently and artistically uses a CinemaScope vista and full dynamic sound to create an inner world of adolescent thoughts. Here Nevrland plays to dream-like feelings of fear and desire while reflecting the unconscious need for action.
Meanwhile, newcomer Simon Frühwirth writhes with energy and mystery, alongside the enigmatic figure of Kristjan Paul Forman. Here, both men add to a sense of uncontrollable action and desire as the narrative takes us to the edges of the human mind. The result is a film that burns with energy and colour, providing a fascinating and intoxicating mix of pressure, anxiety and a need for belonging, in what can only be described as a truly unique vision of self-discovery, mental health and sexuality.
Director: Gregor Schmidinger