“I’m thinking about how I could save him….” offers the fragmented voice of our faceless, female protagonist. Her words echo against the enticingly unrelated visual of initially peaceful greenery, instantly interrupted by the heavy footsteps of a human presence amongst nature. Is this the ‘him’ our Swedish lady wishes to save? We do not know, but compelled by the mesmeric voice we follow, are instantly plunged into a surrealist dreamscape of a journey.
VEM, the latest short film offering from Swedish direction and production duo Martin Sjölander and Samuel Forsstrøm, transports the viewer into a mesmeric and intimate dreamscape in which the literal and metaphorical collide. Attachment is discussed over images of two huskies literally tied together by a chord, talk of splinters and shards is accompanied by the visual of white powder dusted off a pair of hands and audio repetition of ‘footprints and trails’ is actualised by a man trudging through the forest on a journey, the purpose of which remains a mystery. It is as if we have been plunged into somebody else’s fragmented thoughts, dreams and desires and are perversely enticed; out of our depth but unable to look away.
Like our fondest, most creative dreams VEM provides pleasant abstraction from immediate reality in the form of pure escapism. The film ends as it begins, with only ambiguity and the question ‘Where are you?’ to which the answer remains, as ever, unknown.