LFF REVIEW: ‘Never Gonna Snow Again’ Is As Ambiguous As It Comes

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Little reveals itself at times which can make the film feel as if it’s paused in motion rather than moving forward.

The mysterious stranger – a plot point as old as time but one that hasn’t ever lost its touch. The concept of mystery is kind of endless, meaning that the setting, character and idea can always find a new idea, although it may feel repetitive of earlier depictions. Never Gonna Snow Again uses this idea in the form of Zhenia (Alec Utgoff), a masseuse who seems to strike wonder into the whole town.

The community that Zhenia arrives at seems lost when he first appears. Everyone keeps to themselves and little is really known as to why. Zhenia’s presence is welcoming before he even says a word. People have this strange connection to him that is indescribable, “I feel quite strange around you” is uttered by one of his clients when he first steps foot in their house. A massage is a fairly intimate act and Zhenia performs each one with an outstanding bravado, with the townsfolk wanting more after he’s left. The light shines on him as he releases the stress inside these people’s bodies, men and women alike feel the compelling need to have him in their home.

But like the forbidden fruit, people crave more of Zhenia and start to emanate jealousy whenever they see him across the road with another client. The middle-aged suburban drama takes it up a notch when housewives glare at each other all for the wanting of Zhenia’s company. Zhenia is more than just a masseuse, he’s the personification of lust to this town. They all stare wide-eyed at this elusive immigrant who seen becomes a guru to this gated community of wealth.

But whilst more is revealed of the inhabitants inside this community, Zhenia remains a puzzle. We learn of his love and experience of ballet either on stage or in someone’s home but other than his passions, he remains bewildered by these people. The connotations of sex that go alongside his massages seem to repulse him. It may be the power control that ultimately wins over these upper-classers who are most likely used to being on top.

Little reveals itself at times which can make the film feel as if it’s paused in motion rather than moving forward. The meaning of Zhenia can have multiple interpretations but there isn’t something lurking with this mysterious figure. Never Gonna Snow Again seems to take a familiar concept and apply it to a multitude of ideas, unfortunately making it so ambiguous that none of those themes can come to the forefront.

Header Image Courtesy of Lava Films.

Dir: Malgorzata Szumowska, Michal Englert

Cast: Alec Utgoff, Maja Ostaszewska, Agata Kulesza