Magnetic North

(2003) 8 minutes,  16mm to video.


Adolescent rituals are played out across the wintry landscapes of small-town Finland.
A teenage girl skates on a frozen lake, while a teenage boy poses with a guitar in his room. The film evokes a world of adolescent fantasy and yearning.

MJW Productions


‘Isabella Liddell Art Award’, 2004 Ann Arbor Film Festival

The film was made in a small village in northern Finland in collaboration with the teenagers living there. It is an ode to adolescent life. In this world, the girls are outside all the all the hours of the day ice-skating, in the woods and on the frozen pond in front of a high-rise development, while the boys sit around in their rooms, decorated with elk antlers, practicing electric guitar. Together with Graeme Miller, Pennell has managed the feat of visually maintaining this strict separation of the sexes, while bringing about a convergence at the level of sound. For both sexes are listening to the same song in their head or on their Walkman, and it is saying: Away from here! Whereas in Human Radio the restrictions served the purposes of narrative economy, here they become a means of creating poetic density. The high-tension wires that connect the village with the big wide world have five strings like the guitars, and drone like them too: lines of flight.
Dirk Schaefer, ‘Choreographies for Camera’ 2006, catalogue essay, Miranda Pennell Profile, for 52nd Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen