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FÖRENINGEN FILM I MALMÖ PRESENTS
LEAVE NO TRACE
Dir. Debra Granik
A 2018 Best Film
Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie gives a breakthrough turn as Tom – the loyal daughter of Ben Foster’s post-traumatised soldier Will, determined to live off-grid in post-frontier America
A story of deep emotional poignancy, with a grim political relevance. Tom and Will’s tragedy began in a conflict on foreign shores, but modern urban America offers no safe haven.
Granik’s film is structured by a series of visual and aural contrasts: the rustling leaves and animal calls of the park are set against the blaring traffic of urban Portland; the forest, thick with giant Douglas firs, against a regimented farm of diminutive Christmas trees, which are to be selected for their symmetrical perfection and shipped off to customers in California.
It’s in the latter seemingly civilised space, not the wilderness, that Will’s PTSD is most painfully triggered, when helicopters buzz overhead, unloading trees to be machine-wrapped. Similarly, as Tom thrives on the brightly coloured clothes and social opportunities of a new life, Will shrinks and withers. In a fairylight-strewn clearing, Tom may find a best-of-both-worlds she can call home, but her father will always feel most secure among the bracken, dwarfed and protected by the forest canopy.
In Leave No Trace, we’re in Oregon, on the outskirts of Portland, trailing a father and daughter as they are forced from their illicit camp in a state park through a series of temporary homes and shelters, in a rustic variant on Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home (1966).