Songs of Earth (2023)

Directed by Margreth Olin

With Olin's 85-year-old father as guide, we experience Norway's most adventurous valley, Oldedalen in Nordfjord. He grew up here, and here generations before him have lived in balance with nature.

Cambridge Film Festival 2023: Film #16

It is curious how we seemingly need the scaffolding of an emotional narrative to justify putting 90 minutes of stunning aerial shots of the Norwegian fjords on the big screen. But that may say more about contemporary arts funding and the need for it to 'align with touristic objectives' than our appetites as an audience. Anyway, given that the mother featured in this film passed away just a few weeks ago, it seems more than a little heartless to quibble about Songs of Earth, but I can't fully subscribe to this documentary's central thesis that (repetitively) equates the human body to nature as part of some great 'cycle of life'. I have no doubt that this is emotionally true in this particular case and I've absolutely no doubt either that Margreth Olin loves her parents. But Margreth would surely have loved them even if they didn't live at the bottom of the Eighth Wonder of the World?


This truly is less a film as it is a piece of art, which is, in all likelihood, the intention. The rinse-and-repeat method of showing a stunning panorama followed by Jørgen’s commentary throughout is the equivalent of a live-action slideshow, which, when coupled with the 90-minute runtime, is a failing that prevents from being anything more than what it is.

Brian Farvour (The Playlist)