Two of modern society’s most pressing topics collide in Viera Čákanyová’s mediation on the power of artificial intelligence and the gradual erosion of the arctic landscape at the hands of climate change. FREM is an overwhelming cascade of stunning aerial photography and glitchy soundscapes that is as exhausting as it is compelling.

It is a film that asks a number of profound questions about the possibilities of post-humanist filmmaking and the future of our planet, but deliberately dodges the possibility of answers. Čákanyová opens with a montage of shots from modern life, and then abruptly cuts to a sprawling canvas of snow and ice, a drone robotically gliding over an arctic desert. The film juggles two key conundrums: how will filmmaking continue once humanity is gone, and what exactly is the future of our planet?

FREM often feels reminiscent of Abbas Kiarostami’s final film 24 Frames in its exploration of unrestrained, pure filmmaking. But where Kiarostami’s film was consistently enchanting, FREM can sometimes verge on being a rather draining experience, with the constantly jittery audio and video artefacts. It’s hard to shake the feeling that perhaps it would’ve been better suited in a shorter format.

But in its strongest moments, FREM sparkles with mystery and a confounding allure that makes it impossible to take your eyes off, like when the camera suddenly discovers a lone human in the landscape and we begin to look into his daily life in this great arctic wilderness, or when a group of penguins suddenly appear, shot from above with awe-inspiring scope.

A frustrating but striking watch, Čákanyová has crafted a bizarre art piece that, though it does hugely overstep its run-time, asks some important questions about the world we live in.



CAST: Martin Kovacík

DIRECTOR: Viera Čákanyová

WRITER: Viera Čákanyová

SYNOPSIS: What will filmmaking look like in a post-humanist landscape? And how soon will humanity be gone? FREM looks for answers to these questions in a bleak, arctic landscape.