Joachim Trier's sci-fi psychodrama Thelma was one of the breakout hits of last year's Fantastic Fest (and TIFF, and BFI London Film Film Festival). It's a coming-of-age drama about a young woman from a fundamentalist background who undergoes a sexual awakening - and a telekinetic one. Using its genre trappings as a metaphor to tell its emotional story, it's an incredibly stylish film, and one that won a lot of fans on the festival circuit (and an Academy Awards submission from Norway). Our own Leigh Monson held it in high esteem, proclaiming it one of the year's best queer-themed films:
Thelma is one of the more interesting entries on this list because it is the only one to deal in allegory and metaphor as its primary storytelling devices. Raised in a conservative Christian family, Thelma finds herself exposed to a plethora of new ideas in her first semester at university, including the notion that she is attracted to women. However, along with these burgeoning feelings comes a terrible psychic power that she is not entirely able to control. On the surface, this seems like a cautionary tale on the dangers of lesbianism, but what eventually unfolds is a tale of how a lifetime of repression and conditioning is the primary cause of harm to Thelma and to those around her. Though the allegory doesn’t stick the landing one-hundred percent, Thelma is a fascinating examination of how queer erasure is damaging on individual and social levels.
Many came away from the above festivals with the suspicion that the Norwegian film would receive an English-language remake, as often happens to "foreign-language" films of a certain stature. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, that's just what's happening.
The remake will be helmed by Craig Gillespie, whose I, Tonya dealt with a different kind of parental repression. It'll be written by Christy Hall, a relative newcomer to the screen who's been working as a playwright for a number of years. Bankrolling and producing will be FilmNation (Arrival, Under the Skin, Suspiria), suggesting the project will receive a strong level of creative support. I, Tonya, of course, is wildly different in tone to Thelma, but the teaming of writer, director, and production company is an encouraging one.
No dates have been announced for Thelma, but presumably it'll go before lenses in the next year or two. I'll leave you with the original film's trailer: