Sanctuary opens on the Swedish countryside with a young girl, Hella, and her father find their tranquility interrupted by the arrival of the police. The police are looking for Hella's father in connection with a murder but while he hides in the house, Hella convinces the Police he isn't home. After the police leave the two vacate the home, escaping into the vast woodland to hideout. Fredrik Edfeldt's Sanctuary is a meditative coming of age story with striking imagery that doesn't quite pull of the emotional impact it should have. The strength of the film is centered around this father-daughter relationship, each of whom still suffers deeply from the loss of their mother/wife respectively. It's almost as if they struggle to actually talk about their sadness and current situation, with their relationship tightening up as the film progresses in a completely believable way. The cinematography of Sanctuary is exceptional with Fredrik Edfeldt juxtaposing nature's beauty against the father-daughter relationship to create this new-found tranquility and freedom in the woods. There are certainly parts of dramatic impact, most notably around the father coming to terms with his past transgressions as well as the absence of a feminine figure in Hella's life but Sanctuary never quite dissects these troubled souls as much as it could have. Another interesting anecdote would be the fairytale type effect that Sanctuary develops towards the end of the film, with the lighting in particular giving the film a nice spiritual quality. Fredrik Edfeldt's Sanctuary is certainly a slower-paced meditative experience that remains very subtle in its approach, never spelling the exact circumstances out for the viewer. While the film is beautifully realized and well-acted I couldn't help but be marginally disappointed given the film's lack of emotional resonance.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.