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20 seconds of shitting your drawers

Well, after much frustration, I have finally found a suitable nesting place where I can sit down with a coffee (and a nosh) and get free wireless access. Not sure why that’s harder to find in Tronna than it is in Sarnia. Go figger. Anyhow, my li’l EEEPC and I are sitting in the Aroma Espresso Bar, just next door to the Bloor Cinema, waiting for the box office to open so I can pick up my tix for two of tonight’s screenings, and I thought I could tell you a bit about the film I just saw this afternoon.

Take a flying leap

It’s called 20 Seconds of Joy, and it’s about Norwegian BASE jumper Karina Hollekim. Directed by Swede Jens Hoffmann, the film covers about five years of Karina’s life as an extreme athlete (she is also into freeskiing and skydiving but the focus of the film is her BASE jumping).

The film follows the charismatic and beautiful and complicated Karina all over the world, and, as you might imagine, the cinematography is breathtaking. We peer over the edges of fjords and mesas along with the folks who are bound and determined to throw themselves off, and if you have any hint of vertigo, you should probably skip this one. Hoffman typically set up about five cameras to capture each jump–including a helmet-mounted camera. It is spectacular and I am so happy I was able to see it on a big screen.

Inspired by Rocky the Flying Squirrel

Hoffman talks not only with Karina and her fellow jumpers but also her family and friends. Most express how difficult to deal with her jumping is for them. She is mostly unconcerned about that and, luckily for her, they do seem to understand. There is discussion about Karina’s childhood—made difficult by a car accident which put her mom into a coma. Once she recovered from the coma, her mom had no short-term memory, and Karina found herself—at a young age—in the position of being the caretaker rather than the child. So she grew up fast and she grew up strong, and she constantly set challenges for herself. BASE jumping is a way of putting life’s challenges into perspective, I guess… I mean, if you can corral your fear of your own death and hurl yourself into the abyss off a thousand-metre cliff, then I guess losing a job or facing financial difficulties isn’t all that scary, y’know? Seems a bit extreme to me, but, hey, we’ve all got our own ways of dealing with life, I guess.

There is a turning point in the film which, Hoffman told us at the “long haul” panel on Saturday, came right at the end of the scheduled shoot. He decided to keep shooting, though, because he didn’t want that event as the end of the film. Wise choice.

See it on the big screen if you can!

→ originally published 2008-04-22

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