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DVD Review

DVD cover

Three Miles North of Molkom


Metrodome Distribution
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 25 January 2010

Three miles north of Molkom, hidden deep in the lakeside forests of Sweden, lies Angsbacka; a 21st Century playground for adults. Once a year, their gates open to a thousand international participants, placed in 'Sharing Groups' at random. A Swedish celebrity, a Californian hippy, a Finnish grandmother and a bemused back-packing Australian rugby coach are amongst the sharing group. Firewalking, Shamanism, Tantric Sex and a myriad of other esoteric experiences guide our unlikely heroes towards enlightenment, love, loathing and themselves. Will they ever be the same again...?

Three Miles North of Molkom follows a group of individuals attending the No Mind festival in Sweden. I'm not really sure what it's all about (the festival that is) but it seems to entice weirdo's from all over the world to live in a tent and get to know themselves a little better - something my mum used to tell me would make me go blind.

The biggest issue I have with this documentary is that the filmmakers don't appear to have a clear focus for the movie. Are we following the sharing group? Nick as an outsider? Or uncovering why the attendees are really at the festival. In addition, the trailer is more than a little misleading. Anyone coming to the movie after watching the trailer will be forgiven for expecting it to follow Nick as he is forced into the world of crazy tree hugging hippies - wise cracking his way through the ordeal in his bid to uncover what a ridiculous event it actually is. And, I have to admit, if this had been the focus this would have been a much more satisfying film.

As with all documentaries of this nature, it's uncertain how much of what we see on screen is staged, or edited in such a way as to make certain events and people appear more stupid than they actually are.

Over the course of this movie we follow the group as they engage in several activities including getting to know their power animal; throat singing; fire walking and, what every single bloke has really turned up for, the last major event: tantric sex class.

However, the Yellow Bamboo segment illustrates why events like this should be policed by an independent body. Paul Terrell (workshop leader and festival programme co-ordinator in 2006) runs one particular workshop where he gets everyone to draw in energy and then focus it and direct it outwards. This, he claims, can be used to protect yourself. And to prove it he asks one member of the team, Mervi (middle-aged retired careers advisor from Sweden who, incidentally is barking mad), to defend herself as he runs at her. She doesn't and he flattens her. As she's laying on the floor in obvious pain, nut job Terrell doesn't go for help, instead using the energy of his mind to drive away the pain. And, instead of being concerned, her group instead discuss things like how the experience strengthened her as she was in touch with some powerful forces being that close to death. Totally mental.

The worse thing is that Terrell seemed to pick Mervi on purpose to show that he won't stop when he's running at the group. So then, when Nick "defends" himself with his mind, Terrell collapses to the floor and seems to have a mini seizure. In my mind this is little more than a man who likes to hit women and get away with it. Mervi openly admits to being a victim - who better to humiliate? She's very unlikely to make a scene is she. Terrell, and his practices should be investigated.

Extras include Ängsbacka - Meet the Commune (9 min, 20 sec that gives an overview of the festival); The Blagger’s Guide to New Age (text based A-Z of new age); The No Mind Festival in Ängsbacka - what’s it all about? (text based article); An Ängsbacka Virgin - First impressions of the No Mind Festival (PDF text based feature that you can play on your computer); and Theatrical Trailer.

While this DVD is interesting, if a little uncomfortable to watch in places, you can't help thinking these poor buggers need psychiatric help. It could have been so much more entertaining if we'd followed the wisecracking Nick as he shot everything down in flames, asking people what on earth they were doing.


Darren Rea

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