The film written, directed, produced and edited by Trygve Luktvasslimo will be presented at the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival.
The Bitcoin Car is a film produced in Norway that is performed in Norwegian, English, Finnish, Estonian and even Latin. The wacky absurd situations that arise from the narration, that serve as a profound social critique, are mind-blowing. This one-of-a-kind musical adventure may evoke the quirky aspects of The Who’s Tommy and some darker moments of Dancer In The Dark, yet it maintains an individual and unique surrealism that goes beyond compare.
The story revolves around a Baltic family composed by Gloria (Sunniva Birkeland Johansen) and her younger brother Lukas (Henrik Paus). She works hard to establish her organic farm, whilst waiting for her sibling’s return from abroad where he is pursuing a career as a model. During his initial departure at the airport we are introduced to the film’s villain: an attractive, Barbie-like 18-year-old millionaire who owns a bitcoin mining facility and wants to use it for a specific personal plan. Her name is Rita (Zoe Winther-Hansen), and wears a knight’s helmet from beginning to end, which is paired either with some classy suits or a ridiculous onesie.
Meanwhile, in the small coastal village of Valberg, Gloria is committed to a bucolic lifestyle. But when her brother returns home, Gloria admits that in order to gold plate her old Toyota, she accepted money from the bitcoin mining facility, located on top of the graveyard where their parents are buried. Eventually Gloria and Lukas team up to save their Estonian town from the environmental catastrophes caused by the crypto mine. They will not be alone on this mission. Another character will join the arduous quest of the two siblings: Viljami (Johannes Winther Farstad), a zany accordion player with a Finnish-Colombian heritage. His electric blues and the protons floating around in a Muppet-like form, are some of the most unparalleled cinematic moments in Luktvasslimo’s feature.
The film makes a strong statement on the way big corporations are affecting climate change, and there are several episodes throughout that demonstrate it. Everything is peppered with black comedy musical, as irreverent songs — that are majestically performed by the cast — intertwine with ingenious comedic ideas. The most striking is how the farm’s goats are named after sexually transmitted diseases: Klamydia (chlamydia), Syphilis, Gonorrhoea and Herpes.
Besides the environmental themes, The Bitcoin Car brilliantly reminds how an irreverential approach to disaster can serve as a source of counteraction to grief. One of the songs to overcome the pain of loss is deliciously profane as the characters chant: “Death unites us because we are left alive to continue together.” The music composed by Victoria Sergeenko is utterly prodigious as it welds with the polychrome cinematography by Rasmus West.
Despite the topic of climate action and the provincial life is not new, Trygve Luktvasslimo finds a novel and newfangled manner to confront the subject matter, through a black comedy musical that will leave delightfully flabbergasted.
Final Grade: B+