Never Gonna Snow Again (Śniegu Już Nigdy nie Będzie)
11th October 2020 8.30pm at BFI Player
The latest project from visionary filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska (co-written and directed by cinematographer and frequent collaborator Michal Englert), Never Gonna Snow Again is a wildly euphoric and hypnotically surreal journey into the depths of an affluent gated community. The plot revolves around Zenia (Alec Utgoff), a softly spoken masseur born in Pripyat seven years after the Chernobyl disaster. The lead character forms relationships with his wealthy clients (however superficial they may be) and helps them cope with their burdens by using what they believe to be a special gift – which he might possess after all.
Borrowing themes from her other works such as illness, loss and society, Szumowska’s latest movie is a cinematically ambitious and profound examination of life’s myriad aspects. It isn’t feasible to explore every element in great amounts of detail, but the topics highlighted are poignant and elegant, woven together through nuanced connections and laced with a darkly cynical sense of humour.
However, if there’s one detail that needed more nurturing, it’s that of Zenia’s character. Hints of his childhood are scattered throughout the film in dreamlike flashbacks, keeping the lead and his past shrouded in a tantalising mystery. Toward the end, when viewers are expected to care about this side of him, there’s just not enough characterisation for these moments to be effective.
What is successful, though, is Englert’s cinematography. Painted in bold strokes of colour and light, Never Gonna Snow Again is easily one of the best-looking pictures of the year. One could choose any still, from fairytale-esque forests to the crisp interiors of the clients’ homes, and have it framed for their wall – the camerawork is just that good.
This tale of a Ukrainian masseuse who may or may not have extraordinary healing powers is like a beautifully weird dream. You never know where it’s going next, but – even if it doesn’t make all that much sense – seeing where it takes you is a momentous experience.
Never Gonna Snow Again (Śniegu Już Nigdy nie Będzie) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2020 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Never Gonna Snow Again (Śniegu Już Nigdy nie Będzie) here: