Review: Journey Through Our World
by Marta Bałaga
- Peter Lataster and Petra Lataster-Czisch’s Best Dutch Film winner is slow but has a certain grace to it – as well as a wasp with thieving tendencies
It still feels like it’s way too early for lockdown films – so far, they have all been unbearably boring to watch. But although Journey Through Our World – chosen as the winner of the Best Dutch Film Award at this year’s IDFA and rewarded for its editing, too – is slow, it’s also very, very lovely. As far as stories about resigned people walking around in robes go, this might be one of the nicest ones out there.
With the directors focusing on their own life here, it almost plays out like a romantic comedy at times: these two people are clearly still enjoying each other’s company, somehow. They bicker – “Will we go crazy?” “You might. I won’t” – but it’s all very tender and full of affection. One can’t help but wonder if watching such scenes might be hard for some people, those who were lonely all through the pandemic or whose relationships imploded during that difficult time.
This thought keeps on returning, as Journey Through Our World is a privileged take on lockdown, there’s no doubt about that. Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster had to focus on their friends and neighbours, and their situations seem to be stable. They aren’t best pleased with whatever is happening, obviously, and they listen to the news and worry, but they are fine, safe. It almost feels too sweet, with grown-up people suddenly noticing “how blue the sky is” or becoming emotionally invested in the battle between a spider named Elfriede and a wasp with thieving tendencies – the only proper action scene in the movie.
Sweet, or maybe irritating – after hearing so many statements about how the world will change forever and people will finally learn to pay more attention, it’s pretty obvious that won’t happen now. Even though the sky is still blue. But the bubble also starts bursting in the documentary: a friend is suffering from a serious illness, and someone else goes on a trip to Ukraine. This sensation that the world has stopped is clearly short-lived – a scary future is already lurking just around the corner.
Maybe this film is a celebration of looking. Once stuck in their home, what are these filmmakers to do? They will keep filming, of course, finding stories wherever they can, paying extra attention to nature because “the virus came from nature as well”, someone states. And although this is the “dream lockdown” they are showing, there is something cuddly and oddly uplifting about their work, a feel-good take on something we are still dealing with. Unless you count that robbed spider, that is. Poor Elfriede.
Journey Through Our World was produced by Dutch outfit L&F Productions.
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