Finnish filmmaker Lotta Petronella brings her fine art training to bear in her third documentary feature that plays out like a haunting thriller making affective use of hyper vibrant visuals and indie composer Lau Nau’s eerie soundscape to tell the story of the island’s troubled past. Arriving there in the depths of winter like some ancient mariner over the icebound sea to the south of Finland she soon discovers that the former asylum is a place with vast archives that reveal a repressed and terrifying history that emanates from letters written but never sent by the women who suffered and died there.
Själö – Island of Souls is a restrained but profound study in memory and how history is created and shaped both by those that lived through it and their descendants. Some memories are over-glorified while others are buried and erased from the history books simply because of the nature of their existence. And this is particularly relevant in this island with its strange and disturbing past.
Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia