“NEVRLAND”— A Transpersonal Journey


A Transpersonal Journey

Amos Lassen

17-year-old Jakob wants to feel alive and nothing more. Because of uncontrollable anxiety he is prevented from doing so and he is forced to escape into virtual worlds. One night, he meets 26-year-old Kristjan in a cam chat. This is the beginning of a transpersonal journey to the wounds of their souls.

17 year old Jakob (Simon Fruhwirth) has just graduated high school and as it is the summer, his single-parent father fixes him up with a  temporary job at the abattoir in town.  They live in an isolated house in the country with Jacob’s elderly grandfather who he is expected to take care off.  Jacob’s relief from all this slightly oppressive domesticity is his computer on which behind closed doors he can cruise the gay chat lines.

It in these wee hours at night that he feels alive.  He suffers from uncontrollable anxiety attacks which one day actually made him collapse while taking a shower at work. A thorough examination at the hospital in Vienna showed that there is nothing physically wrong with him and that his problems are all psychological.

 He thinks the answers to his problems may lie with Kristjan (Paul Forman), a hunky 26 year old who has pursued him online and now wants to meet up in person.  After his grandfather has died Jakob agrees to meet with Kristjan, who has more than a few issues of his own.  The older boy persuades Jakob to take a hit of a strong hallucinatory drug telling him that it will help him face his fears. but it just doesn’t quite happen  as planned.

Austrian writer/director Gregor Schmidinger  calls this a post-gay coming of age story.  When Jakob embarks on his voyage of discovery it is an opportunity to show his vivid imagination as one very extended hallucinatory trip. This is an intense and multi-layered look at how one youth deals with his sexuality and tries to feel alive after having felt abandoned and almost dead inside. Schmidinger’s movie will resound with those who remember the difficulties of their own passages into manhood. Jakob never really feels at home whether at work or at home. He surfs the web  for love.

But even with his ever-growing escapes into digital sex he cannot free himself from his inner demons. He feels strangely excluded and does not feel real emotions, either in verbal contact with his father or in the daily care of his increasingly senile grandfather. His inner cry for tenderness that masturbating in front of the laptop does not help leads him to speaking one day on a sex-cam chat with handsome Kristjan.

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