Jon Bang Carlsen / Denmark, Estonia, Norway / 2022 / 76 min
One of Danish documentary’s most original voices is back in the US with a new hybrid film in which five American teenagers from a small town in Arizona are invited to participate in a performative performance of their own stories and dreams.
Tucked away somewhere along Route 66 in Arizona’s endless desert, we find the small American town of Winslow. At the town’s high school, five different teenagers each carry their own dreams. They are in a transitional phase from child to adult, where they must find their way into adulthood. Danish documentary legend Jon Bang Carlsen is back with a modern take on what he calls ‘staged documentary’, letting the five young people recreate their own lives in the past, present and future. Along the way, dream and reality merge in the interplay between staged footage, spontaneous events and barren landscape shots. ‘Dreaming Arizona’ is a beautiful film about imagined lives, youthful expectations and old ghosts in the borderland between documentary and fiction.