| “A disappearance, unlike a death, frustrates and tantalizes
because of its lack of closure. The missing person becomes a creation of
memory and imagination, both outside time and time’s victim. There
is never a chance to definitively mourn.”
Jason Cowley, Unknown Pleasures
Frozen is the feature film debut of writer/director Juliet McKoen, whose
previous work includes the BAFTA/Kodak-winning short Mavis and the Mermaid
(2001). Frozen is the first collaboration between Lars von Trier’s
Danish production company Zentropa and an English company with a female
The film was shot predominantly on location in Fleetwood, Lancashire, on
High Definition DV. As the culmination of a series of personal works which
explore the people and places of Morecambe Bay, its central image is the
Bay’s dangerous but seductively beautiful and frozen landscape, which
haunts the lead character Kath and serves as a visual representation of
her emotional state.
reaches the other side’
Juliet says: “The starting point was this powerful and poetic article
called Salvaging the Sacred, in which Marion Partington, cousin of Martin
Amis, describes the emotional effects of her sister Lucy being missing
for 21 years. (Lucy was eventually discovered to be one of the West victims).
This article lay dormant in my mind until a woman’s body was fished
out of Coniston, the nearest lake to my home in Cumbria. She quickly became
known as the ‘Lady in the Lake’ and was later confirmed as
the wife of a local schoolteacher who had disappeared 20 years ago, leaving
two small children. Their father still shops in my local Asda.
It was when a friend, who works in the probation service locally, told
me that the Lady in the Lake’s sister had also been murdered, that
the two stories coalesced in my mind. What, I wondered, was it in a family
that caused two sisters to meet the same, statistically unlikely, fate?
What must it feel like to have a sister, missing without trace?”
The estuary vision sequences in Frozen were shot miles out in Morecambe
Bay, only a couple of miles away from the spot where, a few months later,
23 Chinese cocklers lost their lives when they were cut off by the tide.
“It’s difficult to find words to describe the
pain and disorientation of someone simply disappearing without trace. It’s
a bit like trying to search for a body that is trapped somewhere beneath
the frozen Arctic Ocean. As the freeze continues, there is no sign of a
thaw, no sign of a seal hole. The features of that world become distorted
as the seasons pass and the ice builds up, and you have to go inside and
get warm if you want to survive.”
From the article Salvaging the
Sacred by Marion Partington.