Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir goes back to the task and pleasure of the filming undertaken during the very beginnings of cinema: filming the physical work of men. She does it with a historical astonishment but also with a new critical gaze: on the exploitation of work and on the physical-or-sport exploits of men’s teams, on despair and solitude and on pride and professionalism. Keep Frozen lets us enter the hidden and dangerous world of dockworkers in Iceland through an empathic camera work that is able to fit perfectly with the repetitive rhythm of the synchronised work. Thanks to this filmic and almost choreographic experience, we learn how well hypnosis and energy can be interconnected.
A particularly brilliant idea is the choice of using an anonymous voice over for the workers’ witnesses. Instead of losing their personalities, they find as a result an equal opportunity to put forward their inner worlds, which often seem to clash with the frozen reality of their daily job. “Kept frozen” are the fish that they load and unload, “kept frozen” are their souls, their imagination, their wishes. Keep Frozen not only sheds light on the abstract beauty of the skilled gestures and on the nobility of hard work, but also unfreezes the humanity of the hard workers without leaving their working place.
(Giuseppe Di Salvatore)
Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore
First published: December 20, 2018