What happens to a counterculture and its followers when the Alternative becomes dominant? This question is at the heart of “Freeland”, a psychological drama that unfolds economically but patiently, venturing on floors lined with thrillers, while tracing the life of an autonomous entrepreneur whose independence is at odds with changing systems. This is Devi (Krisha Fairchild), a self-sufficient 60-year-old woman who has earned a living and has been growing and selling first-class marijuana for almost three decades. But now she is faced with the risk of legalization, a process that is accompanied by heavy fines if she does not comply with all the measures prescribed by the government, an inevitability of turning her own country and her residence into a state-of-the-art institution with a lot of effort, and finally, a significantly reduced value for her stains in which she pours her blood, sweat and tears at any time of the year.
All this may seem counterintuitive at first-how could legalization be bad for such a company that has always existed illegally and on the verge of a great risk? Isn’t it better for the final result to be open and accessible to everyone? In their narrative debuts, co-directors Mario Furloni and Kate McLean apparently faced the same questions when they discovered Humboldt County, in northern California, a decade ago, as documentary filmmakers.low-key outlaws. Devi is based on the filmmakers’ own reflections. Like someone who lived in seclusion in a place that thrived at the height of the medicine wars, when people were building their own city and making their own rules, she is now challenged by the greatest enemy of all: capitalism. How can it maintain its legacy against fierce competition with deep pockets and navigate all the new regulations?
Furloni and McLean use their documentary eye and ability to perceive as devoted observers and build the world of No Bells and Whistles Quotes in a complex way, leading us to a community business that grows around well-kept fields and cheerful tables where joints and products are packed. Fairchild leaves an unforgettable impression in Trey Edward Shult’s “Krisha” in 2015 and restores her character’s captivating organic sensibility by creating wild and varied Mood swings with a sense of precision. We see them at the end of their best days in the first moments of the film, surrounded by a Trio of young hourly employees who are all dealing with their own insecurity in life. There is Mara (Lily Gladstone), a practical and reasonable young woman who is trying to evaluate her prospects. There’s Casey (Cameron James Matthews), the clan’s laid-back resident, who doesn’t really rush to make firm decisions. There is also the overtly ambitious Josh (Frank Mosley) who constantly seems ready with unsolicited opinions about the future and progress of Devi’s business.
The filmmakers empathetically capture the evolving dynamics of the Clan and highlight Devi’s growing discomfort and paranoia in quick fragments as she transitions from a savvy business owner to someone struggling to pay her workers on time. The tension is exacerbated by a series of anonymous, almost ghostly text messages that Devi receives one day from a supposedly interested buyer who intends to bring his product — his best of all— to potential customers to the east. Desperate for an opportunity and fresh from returning empty-handed from a soul-killing Cannabis fair, Devi takes care of the news only to realize that she might be the victim of a fraud. Could one of your loved ones be trouble you? Or is she unnecessarily suspicious in an alienating world?
While the Finale of “Freeland” feels undeserved and Touch-up-in-the-Air, the film’s visual qualities make up for that relative weakness elsewhere. In this regard, the greatest achievement of “Freeland”, apart from Fairchild’s performance, turns out to be a lived feeling, an Attribute that can be seen everywhere – from Lauren Donlon’s adorable Hippie—Dippy mess and Alexander Zane Irwin’s production design to Furloni’s atmospheric cinematography of mesmerizing misty skies and magnetically high redwoods. It is a contemplative Film that manages to take the audience to an not-known country whose survival outside the network cannot help but take root.