22 July (2018)

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Directed by Paul Greengrass
Country: Norway / Iceland / USA

English director Paul Greengrass has a knack to recreate real-life events on the big screen, a faculty mirrored in brilliant films like Bloody Sunday (2002), United 93 (2006), and Captain Phillips (2013). Recently, he has turned his eyes to the Norway attacks of July 22, 2011, where a far-right terrorist diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder killed 77 people.

Charismatic actor Anders Danielsen Lie (Oslo 31; Reprise; Personal Shopper) impersonates the monster with a convincing and indispensable coldness in a dramatic thriller based on the book One of Us by Åsne Seierstad. Despite featuring an exclusively Norwegian cast and crew on behalf of credibility, the film is English-spoken, which I see as an inconsistent choice.

In spite of this debatable choice, the account starts one day prior to the attack as we follow the silent Anders Breivik (Lie) preparing meticulously a double onslaught. In the first place, a car bomb explosion in Oslo, quite close to the Prime Minister’s office, and then after that, a mass shooting on the Utoya island during a Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp, an event organized by the Labor Party. He performs the massacre dressed in a police uniform, vociferating words of hate against Marxists, liberals, and members of the elite.

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Following Breivik’s arrest, 17-year-old Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli), who survived the tragedy along with his younger brother Torje (Isak Bakli Aglen), becomes a central figure, having his rehabilitation, frustration, and trauma captured by Greengrass' agile lens. In parallel, Breivik’s court proceedings clarify his political view based on a deep disdain for immigrants, also demonstrating his self-gratification for the evildoing and general aloofness from the rest of the world. For me, Geir Lippestad (Jon Øigarden), the lawyer specifically appointed by Breivik to defend him is the most intriguing element of a plot whose intelligible narrative facilitates the perception of the entire picture.

On the one side, Greengrass touches the melodrama through the use of some emotional manipulation, but on the other side, he creates a visceral impact with the horrifying scenes. As a thriller, it can be an entertaining watching and the adrenaline rushes as a consequence of the nightmarish carnage. However, whenever our mind focuses on the idea of reality, it’s pain and sympathy that envelop us. Having that said, and in spite of a certain number of aspects that could be ameliorated, the dramatization works more often than it doesn’t.

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The 12th Man (2018)

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Directed by Harald Zwart
Country: Norway

Films about authentic heroes with keen survival instincts and an extreme capacity for resilience usually provide solid entertainment. Danny Boyle’s "127 Hours", Baltasar Kormakur’s "The Deep", Sean Penn’s "Into the Wild", and Kevin Macdonald’s "Into The Void" are some acknowledged cases of cinematic success.

The historical war thriller "The 12th Man", written by Petter Skavlan (Kon-Tiki) and directed by Harald Zwart, was underpinned by another amazing fact-based story that, even far from the titles cited above, is worth watching.

Set in Norway, the account follows Jan Baalsrud (Thomas Gullestad), the only saboteur from a group of twelve that survived the Nazis in the winter of 1943 after their boat has sunk. Emphasizing the priceless courage of the local population, the director depicts Baalsrud as a modest hero and a noble patriot. A model of determination, this Resistance fighter, despite forced to sacrifice some gangrened toes due to the extreme cold, ultimately reaches his goal: to cross the border into neutral Sweden. Blessed by the heavens, he couldn’t have made it without the help of a few inestimable friends, including an old midwife and the Gronvolls - siblings Gudrun (Marie Blokhus) and Marius (Mads Sjogard Pettersen). Their assistance was of the most importance, so he could elude the unremitting manhunt mounted by Kurt Stage (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), an inflexible, hostile SS officer who always knew he was not chasing a ghost but a real man.

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Curiously, Arne Skouen had depicted this same story in 1957 in his Oscar-nominated drama "Nine Lives". At the time, it was Jack Fjeldstad who embodied the protagonist.

Although competent in terms of storytelling, the most impressive aspect of the film was its visual impact, with some severe scenes causing discomfort. But it’s also a jolt when we think that these occurrences actually happened. The question is: with which level of accuracy? Regardless of the answer and a cliché here and there, Zwart did his job accordingly. Even perceiving how this cat-and-mouse game would end up, we have the bitter Scandinavian cold acting like an enemy as lethal as the merciless Germans.

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Thelma (2017)

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Directed by Joachim Trier
Country: Norway

The first minutes of “Thelma”, Joachim Trier’s first experience on psychological horror-thriller, is enchanting and baffling. Walking on a frozen lake, Trond (Henrik Rafaelsen) and his 8-year-old daughter Thelma (Grethe Eltervag) contemplate the fish swimming underneath the thick layer of ice. They're crossing the snowy woods that surround their small town located on the west coast of Norway to hunt. A young deer stops, staring in front of them. While Thelma gets petrified, Trond points his rifle at the animal and prepares to shoot. However, and to our surprise, the gun changes direction, aiming at Thelma for brief moments. Standing about seven feet away from him, the kid doesn’t realize that her life is hanging by a thread. This is an enticing premise of a film whose veiled prescription takes a ponderous and valid effect.

The story moves onward, and we are taken to the cosmopolitan scenario of Oslo, where the beautiful yet reserved Thelma (Eili Harboe), now a freshman in college, struggles to adapt to a big city and new people. Nevertheless, she shows clear signs of wanting to live an independent life. Sometimes, when not picking up the phone, she gets her overly controlling parents worried. It’s clear that she maintains a close relationship with her father, but he can make her truly uncomfortable with his to-the-point remarks. Her wheelchair-bound mother, Unni (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), despite observant, remains silent most of the time. One can tell there’s pain here, but the mystery stubbornly persists.

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The secrets, having had tragic repercussions in the past and within the family, only begin to surface when Thelma, who grew up immersed in a rigid Christian doctrine, is tormented by guilt as she experiences what people at her age are exposed to, namely, alcohol, drugs, and sexual desire. On this latter aspect, she gets particularly overwhelmed when in the face of an irrepressible lesbian attraction for Anja (Kaya Wilkins), the extrovert college mate who was sitting next to her in the library when she had the first of a series of weird seizures.
 
These completely strange occurrences along with abominable dreams, occasional panic attacks, and an unrestrained spiral of emotional vulnerability lead Thelma to the fantastic yet intimidating discovery that she possesses a freaking strange power that can be used over people with possibly alarming outcomes.
As the sexual repression stings deeper, the main character acknowledges she is special, and yet the film loses a bit of direction after a couple of flashbacks have clarified what she’s really capable of.
 
Thelma” is loaded with invention but stands below the high standards the director set with top-notch dramas such as “Oslo, August 31” and “Reprise”. If the film is technically unblemished, it’s no less true that it feels a bit strained, story-wise. Notwithstanding, and for his own sake, the talented filmmaker eschewed any type of melodramatic flourishes and was wise enough to intensify those suspended, dreamlike, and highly atmospheric segments where the senses become affected by the use of substances and the sexual pleasures are set loose. There’s a scene of a party that is absolutely enthralling, and the scintillating Elie Harboe, delivering a standout performance, gives you another good reason to see this movie.

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The Wave (2015)

Directed by Roar Uthaug
Country: Norway

This fiction about a Norwegian family trying to survive a destructive 300-foot tsunami caused by the collapse of a bulky mountain fragment into a fjord, provides us with one or two unsettling moments but never breathes the indispensable fresh air to avoid being considered a standard. 
Standing slightly above the most Hollywood productions of the same genre, “The Wave” deserves merit whenever renders claustrophobic atmospheres, but it’s not so strong when it comes to the drama itself, which proved slick and too familiar.

Roar Uthaug (“Cold Prey”, “Escape”), directing from a script by John Kare Raake and Harald Rosenlow-Eeg ("Hawaii, Oslo"), explores a real possibility - there’s currently 30 unstable mountains in Norway - and gives wings to his imagination. However, by observing the modesty of the visuals and how a few clichéd details sabotage the story, I can say he consciously misses the opportunity of having his name dissociated of the commercial circuit. That fact is perhaps insignificant to the filmmaker since the film is an impressive n.º 1 national top box office since August 2015.

The film opens with footage about the Lodal catastrophes of 1905 and 1936 that together victimized more than 100 people. Immediately, the attention is shifted to Kristian (Kristoffer Joner), a competent geologist, working in the quiet tourist village of Geiranger, who is about to move with his family to Stavenger, the third largest urban zone and metropolitan area in Norway. 
In his last working day at the monitoring center, where they probe the actual movement of the mountains, he’s praised by his chief, Arvid (Fridtjov Saheim), and cherished by his workmates. While he nostalgically packs his stuff from the desk, some values read by the sensors show that the Akerneset Mountain may not be so still as they would like to believe. Kristian shows his utmost concern about the matter, but Arvid, who refuses to press the alarm button, considers this an overreaction and concludes that the situation is under control.

Kristian leaves the place with a disquieting sensation to meet with his plucky wife, Idun (Ane Dahl Torp), and their two children, Julia (Edith Haagenrud-Sande) and Sondre (Jonas Hoff Oftebro), at the hotel where she works. At the last minute, plans change and the couple decides to spend their last night there. Scarily, the night becomes an ordeal because Julia makes his dad taking her to their old house to say goodbye, exactly when, some time later, it’s confirmed that a massive landslide fell in the fjord, giving the inhabitants only 10 minutes to go up 80 meters above the sea level and avoid the damaging impact of a gigantic wave. To worsen the situation, Sondre resolves to vanish from his hotel room, dragging his mother into a desperate search that makes them to miss the bus to salvation.
Playing with the separation of the family, the film feels like a copy-paste of stereotypes, relying not only on some noble actions of aid and generosity, but also on afflictive instants of panic caused by being trapped in confined places, in the eminence of drowning.

“The Wave”, bolstered with consistent performances, an intimidating musical score, and a heart-rending scheme may allure viewers agog with the power of a natural calamity over a tiny village. Nevertheless, the acceptable moments of tension never surpass the real lack of surprise and originality.

1001 Grams (2014)

1001 Grams (2014) - Movie Review

Directed by Bent Hamer
Country: Norway / Germany

“1001 Grams” is a low-key Norwegian drama written, produced, and directed by Bent Hamer and starring Ane Dahl Torp, Laurent Stocker, Stein Winge, and Hildegun Riise. 
If Mr. Hamer had caused a very positive impression by using an unconventional storytelling in his past dramatic comedies, “Kitchen Stories”, “Factotum” and “O’Horten”, now I must confess I was a bit disappointed with this cold pseudo-scientific experience. 

The story’s central character is Marie Ernst (Torp), a valuable element of the team that works at the Norwegian Metrology Center, which next goal is to present their kilogram prototype, which has to be handled with extreme care, at an important kilo seminar in Paris. The brain behind the experiments is her father, Ernst Ernst (Winge), an old-school investigator and widower who misses his wife more than anything else, lately spending his days drinking alone and sleeping on his farm’s hay. Weak, unmotivated to work, and consumed by guilt about how he put away his younger brother from the inherited family farm, Ernst ends up in the hospital with a heart attack, dying a few days after talking to Marie for the last time. 

Marie is not a happy person either. She’s still trying to cope with a recent divorce and practically only speaks with Wenche (Riise), a co-worker who plays the role of a confidante, even if the glacial Marie always enforces some distance between them. Marie starts traveling on a regular basis to Paris to attend the awaited seminar, in which the boring scientific discussions put a few participants asleep. There, she gets to know a French physician and professor, Pi (Stocker), also a part-time gardener, becoming very attached to him and eventually finding the love that had disappeared from her life for a while. Enjoying the company of each other, they form an efficient and helpful team in all circumstances. Marie helps Pi with his challenging research project about birds’ song and communication while Pi gets the right person to fix the kilo’s capsule when Marie has a car accident. 

The film is comforting in a certain way, but also too introspective and often inexpressive, moving at a snail-pace and being incapable of drawing any special vibrancy of the characters and situations. It’s a case to say that “1001 Grams” was much lighter than it promised, abandoning me dead cold on my seat. A word of appreciation to Mr. Hamer’s habitual cinematographer, John Christian Rosenlund, whose beautiful color palettes administer a pleasant warmness, a factor the story could never provide by itself.

In Order of Disappearance (2014)

In Order of Disappearance (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Hans Petter Molland
Country: Norway / Sweden

Movie Review: Stellan Starsgard stars in “In Order of Disappearance”, an amusing Norwegian gangster tale, written by Kip Fupz Aakeson and directed by Hans Petter Moland. This is the fourth successful collaboration between the director and the actor (“Zero Kelvin”, “Aberdeen”, “A Somewhat Gentle Man” – this last one also written by Aakeson), but only this time it’s Pal Sverre Hagen, as the eccentrically neat Mafia boss, who becomes one of the best motives to watch this flick. Set in Norway, the film opens with the exemplary Nils (Starsgard), a respected Dane who owns a company that provides snow removal services, proudly preparing himself to be awarded the Norwegian ‘Citizen of the Year’ prize. In the same breath, his son Ingvar, employee in a small airfield, is mistakenly kidnapped and forced into a van by two thugs, and then killed with an induced overdose. Unconvinced that his son was a drug addict, the modest Nils leaves the gentleness behind and becomes a merciless hitman, when he finds the gang responsible for his pain. One by one, he starts to eliminate the members of the gang as he tracks them down, but the main goal is to reach the inaccessible mad header, Greven (Hagen), a ruthless man whose only torment is the mother of his bullied son. Soon, Nils realizes that the best to get to him might be through the latter. His successive executions also trigger a gangster war between the local mob and the Serbs with whom they had an agreement to share the airfield for illicit businesses. Death is the word of order here; you will find so many that will be hard to count them all. Sometimes the film seems to get out of track, but the sarcastic humor (have you heard about Norwegian prisons?) and Greven’s immaculate figure, keep holding out the enjoyable levels.

Dawn (2014)

Dawn - Morgenrode (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Anders Elsrud Hultgreen
Country: Norway / Iceland

Movie Review: In “Dawn” (aka "Morgenrode"), Norwegian director Anders Elsrud Hultgreen creates a deserted post apocalyptic world, depicted in black and white, where two wandering survivors wrapped in tatters, Rahab and Set, are trying to beat the fatigue and thirst. Their encounter wasn’t casual, since the former, after asking for the Creator’s guidance, is followed by the latter, a tricky man who pointed the direction of the coveted water and didn’t show any scruples when stole Rahab's precious belongings. In sparse words, Rahab had explained his cruel dream from ten winters ago, where something impossible to describe appeared to him. These enigmatic presences that we cannot see but implicitly hover in the foggy mountains, are an important key in a world where the incomprehensible reigns. During the first half I was bored by the repetitive cadency, completely unable to get into the story. The film works much better in the second half, where its scenes are not constantly interrupted by black screens, and deliver the exact radiance to become minimally appealing. At this point, the minimalism of its final images can be hypnotic in several occasions, proving that mono-tones are not synonym of monotony. A few audacious oblique camera moves enhances the sense of experimentalism in the approach used by Hultgreen, a filmmaker who showed potentiality in visuals but could have done much more in terms of narrative. Instead of striking, “Dawn” lacks clarity in every sense, (un)consciously blurring our perception with a too-long reiterative prelude.

Blind (2014)

Blind (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Eskil Vogt
Country: Norway

Movie Review: Bold, open-minded and self-confident are some ways to classify the Norwegian “Blind”, Eskil Vogt’s experimental comedy drama. Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Peterson) was affected by a rare disease that got her blind, staying home the most part of the time and giving wings to her imagination. Her creative mind not only rummages sexual fantasies and desires, but also her deepest fears regarding her husband, Morten (Henrik Rafaelesen). The structure is complex in such a way that I occasionally felt lost in its web of truths, lies, fantasies, and realities. It’s a voluptuous portrait of a neurotic woman whose blindness doesn’t stop her from dreaming. Characters like the voyeur and porn addict, Einar (Marius Kolbenstvedt), who always looked for the most hard-core and mundane in women before falling in love, or the solitary Elin (Vera Vitali) who is pregnant and resigned with her blindness. “Blind” has the merit of providing a different experience while tangle us in its difficult, puzzled relationships that never ceased to surprise. There’s something weirdly dark and humorous in its ‘fake’ quietness, and in spite of one or another technical aspect that could have been better worked out, the film revealed a fresh observant side allied to an enviable rigor on details. Writer and first-time feature film director, Eskil Vogt, responsible for the screenplays of Joachim Trier’s “Reprise” and “Oslo, August 31st”, collected awards at Berlin, Istanbul and Sundance, a wonderful showcase in addiction to the Norwegian prize of best director.

I Am Yours (2013)

I Am Yours (2013) - Movie Review
Directed by: Iram Haq
Country: Norway

Movie Review: “I Am Yours” is an incisive drama coming from Norway, the first feature film by the actress-turned-director Iram Haq. The story is set in Oslo, where 27-year-old wannabe actress, Mina (Amrita Acharia), from Pakistani origin, lives a troubled life. Divorced from a successful architect and with a little son who needs constant attention, Mina is blamed by her parents for the situation she finds herself in. Despite the bad reputation among the family’s acquaintances and the continual rebukes from her mother, she seems to enjoy her freedom, having incessant encounters with other men and giving herself unreservedly in the relationships. When she gets to know Jesper (Ola Rapace), an unbalanced and insecure Swedish filmmaker, she finally hopes to settle down, departing to Sweden and taking her child with her. Will this be the opportunity she eagerly had been looking for? “I Am Yours” was made with attention to details and molded in an unambiguous way, leaving satisfactory impressions on how the impulsive and emotionally destructed Mina struggles in more than one front: family, love, profession, be herself. But for me, the most important factor was the visible concern with her son, and the persistent question hovering over her head: 'will I ever be a good mother?' With a competent direction, balanced performances, and a heartbreaking finale, “I Am Yours” was a positive surprise.

Chasing The Wind (2013)

Chasing The Wind (2013) - Movie Review
Directed by: Rune Denstad Langlo
Country: Norway

Movie Review: Rune Denstad Langlo’s sophomore fictional-feature, “Chasing The Wind”, was not skillful enough to arouse the same interest as the previous “North”(2009). The story follows Anna (Marie Blokhus) who lives in Germany and reluctantly returns to her small hometown ten years after a terrible accident that victimized her parents, in order to attend her grandmother’s funeral. The first minutes, without being much explanatory, make us anticipate family problems, which became more and more evident in conversations with her grumpy grandfather and her ex-boyfriend, for whom she still harbors strong feelings. The characters’ moods vary among anger, resentment, forgiveness, and ultimately understanding and acceptance of their fate. The problem comes from the fact that all these variations occur in too familiar tones, relying in a dragging pace and in a failed attempt to look poetic. The first real moments of some impact just arrived in its final moments with surprising revelations from Anna’s granddad, but they came too late to provoke us in a more acceptable way. The performances were forgettable and Langlo was never determined to leave his comfort zone, being the biggest responsible for the film’s pale temper. Aesthetically clean on visuals and with an unattractive original music by Ola Kvernberg, “Chasing The Wind” didn’t surpass the standard ways of storytelling.

90 Minutes (2012)

90 Minutes (2012)
Directed by: Eva Sorhaug
Country: Norway

Review: Eva Sorhaug’s second feature film aims to make a psychological study of three men through three different unrelated stories, which ended up in murder. The first story follows a man putting an end to his newspaper subscription and negotiating to get rid of his house. His behavior makes us suspect of financial problems and the sadness in his face is quite evident. The second story is about a disturbed man who doesn’t live with his family anymore, but keeps visiting them often. He has a strange look, and playing with his children seems to leave his ex-wife frightened. The final story depicts a shameful case of domestic violence, starting with a disgusting scene of a tied woman being raped by a man who is addicted to drugs. This is the most violent story, the most painful to watch, and slightly more interesting than the others, since we get to know a little more about the man in question. It’s hard to know what Sorhaug intended to show us with so underdeveloped characters and poor script. Broken homes? Hidden sickness? Evilness? The heavy stuff was so explicit, but the motives or what led to the actions are left aside, since nothing was said or shown about the characters’ past. Despite the vague hints that it might suggest, I got unsatisfied about the lack of depth in the characters' fabrication. The competent direction and convincing performances were the positive aspects of “90 Minutes”, a depressing and feeble analysis of three disturbing minds.

The Almost Man (2012)

The Almost Man (2012)
Directed by: Martin Lund
Country: Norway

Review: “The Almost Man” presents us a character study that isn't so penetrating, leaving me expecting something more. Henrik is 35, and apparently have a happy life. He has a good job, friends who care for him, and seems to have a very stable and joyful relationship with his girlfriend, who is expecting his baby. But these first moments of the story revealed to be deceitful, since Henrik denoted an erratic behavior, immaturity, and selfishness. His adventures are everything but normal, filled with odd episodes such as piss inside his girlfriend’s friend’s car, partying without control, or attack a workmate. Besides, he is completely unable to have a decent conversation or understand his partner’s needs, always with a stupid joke ready to say in the worst moments. Impatient in his job, he ended up quitting in a childish way, after spend some time hiding in corridors and fooling around. The funniest moment of the film was when Henrik abandoned his squash mates, grumbling and sulking like a kid, and went to a bus stop, refusing their ride. This scene showed clearly his personality, rejoicing with the foolish situation created in the middle of the road. Not so anarchic as its obnoxious main character, Martin Lund’s second feature film has exposed promising situations but not always concluded them in the most satisfying way.

All That Matters Is Past (2012)

All That Matters Is Past (2012)
Directed by: Sara Johnsen
Country: Norway

Review: Sara Johnsen’s third feature-film had a promising start, but in fact did not provide us with a great storytelling. It reconstructs the happenings that led to a double killing, involving William and Ruud, two brothers who hated each other since childhood, when they both moved from Sweden to Norway and fell in love with the same girl, Janne. The latter, as only witness, will clarify the story, which was oddly narrated by the policewoman responsible for the investigation. Using frequent flashbacks to their youth, the plot was a prolonged mess of encounters and separations, jealous situations, abandoned babies, illegal immigration, kidnaps, and sexual abuses. The incidents, presented in a confusing order, diverted our attention from the story’s center. Actually, the film drags for long periods, evincing a slowness of processes that never pushed me to care much about its characters. Using a tragic soundtrack along with a sorrowful narration, “All That Matters Is Past” is a bleak tale that often uses unnecessary scenes to impress (like a childbirth or a goat’s slaughter) and almost never shakes the viewer for the right reasons. Merely a promise…

Kon-Tiki (2012)

Kon-Tiki (2012)
Directed by: Joachim Ronning / Espen Sandberg
Country: Norway / others

Review: “Kon-Tiki”, directed by the same duo of "Max Manus"(2008), was the most expensive Norwegian film so far. The plot consists in the voyage planned and made by Thor Heyerdahl (and five more men) in a balsa raft, from Peru to Polynesia, to prove that South Americans could have been the first inhabitants of the latter. A curious detail was that Thor, despite being a courageous sailor, didn’t know how to swim. The highest moments of “Kon-Tiki” were those filled with tension, including shark attacks, a threatening storm and the passage through the Raroia reef. Nothing here was so remarkable or that we haven’t seen before. Feelings only come around in the final scene with a touching letter from Thor’s wife, while the soundtrack reinforced the sense of heroism, in a super-budget film that failed a prominence place among cinematic odysseys.

Thale (2012)

Directed by: Aleksander Nordaas
Country: Norway

Summary: Norwegian folklore turns out to be real when Leo and Elvis encounter Thale in a basement.
Review: Nordic low-budget horror movie “Thale” is seen with curiosity but revealed weaknesses that leads to disappointment. It fails mostly on the ability to scare us. The characters are uninteresting, even when exposing their personal problems, and the horror scenes aren’t sufficiently persuasive or intense for us to hold our breath. The story basically consists in two crime-scene cleaners who find a strange girl in a basement, after years of captivity. She is connected with some forest creatures that constantly lurk around the place. If this is your kind of movie, I rather suggest “Troll Hunter”(2010), which will cause much more powerful sensations.
Relevant awards: -

The Orheim Company (2012)

Directed by: Arild Andresen
Country: Norway

Plot: Jarle Klepp gets a message that forces his mind back to something he'd rather forgotten - his childhood with his father in Stavanger.
Review: “The Orheim Company” is a Norwegian drama about how tough can be growing up inside an unhealthy family environment. The story can be taken seriously, with good acting in general and a confident directing. Alcohol problems are in the basis of the plot, with some embarrassing and tense situations that worked in a very compelling manner. But the movie has another side, which is not so favorable. The story is not sufficiently original or stimulant to be recalled. I consider it a movie to watch, but not to be part of my first choices.
Relevant awards: best actor and supporting actress (Amanda awards, Norway)

Oslo, August 31st (2011)

Directed by: Joachim Trier
Country: Norway

Plot: One day in the life of Anders, a young recovering drug addict, who takes a brief leave from his treatment center to interview for a job and catch up with old friends in Oslo.
Quick comment: Joachim Trier has been revealing himself as one of the most interesting norwegian directors. If “Reprise” (2006) had left a good impression, “Oslo August 31st” does even better. This is a believable story which made me feel a bit uncomfortable. A lonely man is trying to face the world the best way he can after being in a drug rehabilitation center. But it becomes very hard to believe in himself when everyone else has given up. Not to miss!
Relevant awards: -

Headhunters (2011)

Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Country: Norway

Plot: An accomplished headhunter risks everything to obtain a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary.
Quick comment: Vibrant and surprisingly funny, won't let you fall asleep. Supported by delicious details and a mysterious atmosphere that reminded me the Coen brothers darkest movies, we stand before a breathtaking bloodbath where the hunter becomes the hunted.
Relevant Awards: -

Turn Me On, Dammit! (2011)

Directed by: Jannicke Systad Jacobsen
Country: Norway

Plot: A mother learns her 15 year old daughter has been making phone calls to a service number... an adult-oriented service number. A norwegian teen sex comedy.
Quick comment: It has nothing new to say about the subject but in fact some ideas presented are fresh and the humor is remarkable. Light and no more than enjoyable.
Relevant Awards: -

Happy Happy (2010)

Directed by: Anne Sewitsky
Country: Norway

Plot: Family is the most important thing in the world to Kaja. She is an eternal optimist in spite of living with a man who would rather go hunting with the boys...
Quick comment: a bit predictable in its mixed amorous betrayals, could have been much better in many aspects. However it guarantees some entertainment in a melancholic mood.
Relevant Awards: Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, USA