Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Jolly is a nerd. We know this without doubt. Playing one of those choose your own adventure books, the proper kind like Highway Warrior or Lone Wolf; dice rolled, and a result; lose three luck points. Coming of age, is Jolly, powerfully.

The heaviness is not just emotional. The soundtrack is built of four tracks by The Fucking Champs, allegedly progressive but undoubtedly metal. Jolly bicycles as guitars roar, hair in the wind. Jolly is sweet on a boy as the drums sound. Jolly meets the neighbour's son, fights with her mother, riff upon riff.

Copy picture

Director Fenar Ahmad has directed a couple of shorts, demonstrating with this film genuine talent, a sympathetic and striking eye. Writing here with occasional collaborator Jacob Katz, the language, tone, the music all fit.

Played with gawky grace, Jolly is a gangly girl, Eva Thompson's performance flawlessly found in cygnet territory. As her mother, Sarah Boberg is excellent. There's the right mixture of mother/daughter conflict, the same awkwardness around the same young man - while Jolly is sweet on young Kenneth both are captivated by Michael. Played by Nicolei Faber, he is their neighbour's son, returning to bury his father. Young to one, old to the other, and he's got a motorcycle and charm - Faber is an excellent actor, also seen in at EIFF 2010 in Behaviour.

As Kenneth, Jonatan Tulested doesn't have much to do but be the object of Jolly's clumsy affection, but he still does it well. The gap between adolescence and adulthood is a difficult one, even for ostensible grownups, and Megaheavy nimbly and ably moves within that arena.

There are some deft touches, blurred focus when Jolly is without her glasses, the earnest process of carving a name into a tree, inexpertly applied lipstick and the freedom afforded by clear skies and a bright red bicycle. Danish cinema is doing pretty well at the moment, but with features like R and shorts like this and Behaviour, it's pretty clear that it will continue to do so. The soundtrack is loud, the picture crisp, the performances good, it's not to be faulted. Neither wasteful nor parsimonious in what it chooses to show us, we're given the chance to infer, deduce, ponder, to feel our way along as Jolly does.

Megaheavy is old-fashioned in places, not least with parkas abounding and Jolly's stacks of vinyl and lovingly lettered mix-tapes, but that's to its credit. It's touching, captivating, driving, brilliant; not necessarily light fare but not overpowering, and building to a soaring crescendo, it's worth being carried away by.

Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2010
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Jolly is a 14-year old introvert girl in love with her classmate Kenneth. Her world is turned upside down when the neighbor's son arrives to bury his father.
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Director: Fenar Ahmad

Writer: Fenar Ahmad, Jacob Katz

Starring: Eva Thompson, Sarah Boberg, Jonatan Tulested, Nicolei Faber

Year: 2009

Runtime: 19 minutes

Country: Denmark


EIFF 2010

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