The Scotsman / Sally Stott

If you’re looking for early-morning existential angst, Pelle Koppel’s adaptation of Janne Teller’s award-winning novel is full of wry, humorous, self-knowing hopelessness.

With fittingly arch performances, Mikkel Reenberg and Ane Helene Hovby capture the group of young teenagers desperate to persuade their smug tree-dwelling friend, Pierre Anthon, that his
cynicism is unfounded and life isn’t utterly pointless.

To do this, they start gathering all of the objects that are important to them and pile them up in a “heap of meaning”: green sandals, a bike, a pet, Jesus on a cross, Cinderella the dog, the body of a dead child. It seems there is nothing in the world that doesn’t mean something to someone.

The more disparaging Pierre Anthon is about
everything his school friends love, the more extreme the collecting becomes. Slowly, in the town sawmill, one person’s “meaning” becomes another’s depravity.

Reenberg’s and Hovby
conjure up the debauched group of 20-odd characters with skilful sweeps of
delicious dialogue that
highlight the weird little things that they – and we all – find worth in.