Jan 31 - Feb 06, 2014
(Nick Bentgen and Lisa Kjerulff, United States, 2013, Blu-ray, 105 min)
After working on films like Tiny Furniture and Catfish, cinematographer Nick Bentgen makes his directorial debut with Northern Light, a stunningly lensed blue collar portrait and piece of cinéma vérité, infused with the dynamic intensity of a sports film.
Shot over the course of several years in the north woods of Michigan, Northern Light explores the lives of three working class families through their dedicated involvement in the world of competitive snowmobile racing. Set against a score of lush strings, snowmobiles roar through cold nights, kicking up swirls of snow that gleam like golden dust in the lights illuminating the ice track.
Warmly humanist despite its thick blanket of snow, Northern Light captures the personal struggles and stories that unfold during scenes of small town Upper Peninsula life: an international 500 lap race with a $10,000 grand prize, a family birthday party, a female body-building competition, cheerleading practice and after dinner homework.
"Trends are hard to judge in documentary filmmaking, but I’d point to the new immersive focus on ordinary lives, not newsmakers or hot-button topics. . .Bentgen’s approach is respectfully Wisemanesque here." —Seattle Weekly
"a humble and quietly thoughtful piece of cinéma verity. . .Northern Light seems to want to respectfully elevate, honor, and "make an honest woman outta" the slower-paced life of all people who live and die in small towns." —The Stranger