Don’t miss Norwegian Film Week in NYC!
In October Scandinavia House presents a selection of six recent films from Norway with the aim of exposing an American audience to the work of both established directors and a new generation of filmmakers.
In 2005, Norway celebrated its 100th anniversary as an independent nation; in 1905 the Swedish-Norwegian Union was dissolved. Cinema, of course, was invented just ten years before that, so it could be said that process of introducing the new medium into Norway went alongside that of creating a separate national identity for the new nation. Today Norway produces about 15-17 feature films a year, covering a wide variety of styles and subjects; many are often co-produced with Scandinavian or other European partners. Norwegian films are gaining prominence and earning praise at international film festivals, and more frequently, released commercially in the United States.
House of Fools/De gales hus: Wednesday, October 14, 6 pm & Wednesday, October 21, 8:30 pm
Directed by Eva Isaksen (2008). Aina wants to escape from it all, but the house of fools is not a peaceful place to be. After throwing herself through a shop window, Aina is taken in for treatment. She is forced to join therapy groups, riding lessons and cleansing conversations with those who wish to help her. Especially with Stetson, named after his own hat, who considers it honorable to bring a broken soul back to life. In the house of fools, Aina learns that sheer madness usually makes a lot of sense! 103 min.
Cold Lunch/Lønsj: Wednesday, October 14, 8:30 pm & Wednesday, October 21, 6:30 pm
Directed by Eva Sørhaug (2008). There is hope, but not for many of us. A multi-plot drama about five people who all live in the same neighborhood at Majorstua in Oslo. While Christer is down in the basement laundry room, he suddenly remembers he’s got his rent money in the shirt pocket. In an attempt to save the money, he disconnects the main fuse in order to stop the washing machine. As the caretaker puts in a new fuse, an old man is fumbling with the fuses in a fuse-box upstairs and dies instantly. His daughter, Leni is now alone for the first time in her life. As the fresh mother Heidi is in the washroom to get her laundry, she discovers that the machines have stopped. She is in a hurry, and has to bring with her the wet clothes. Without being aware of it, Christer has set unavoidable processes in motion. 90 min.
The Art of Norwegian Animation: Thursday, October 15, 6 pm
Curated by Kajsa Næss. A showcase of Norway’s newest and most acclaimed films that have emerged from the country’s vibrant animation industry. For the past decade, Norwegian animation has been undergoing an intense transformation. Moving beyond small-scale productions, it has become a leader in international design, motion-graphics and cinema. This is a rare chance to view a collection of contemporary animation-based work from Norway’s top artists and studios. 75 min.
Ice Kiss/Iskyss: Thursday, October 15, 8:30 pm & Friday, October 23, 6:30 pm
Directed by Knut Erik Jensen (2008). A strong and poetic love story based on the 30 years Gunvor Galtung Haavik spent living a double life. During the Cold War, she was employed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and assigned to the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow. With the information she had access to in her position as interpreter and secretary, she frequently fed the KGB secret information, in her role as a Russian agent. Director Knut Erik Jensen made the film relying on documentation and inspiration from Alf R. Jacobsen’s book Iskyss, and Haavik’s own letters to her secret Russian lover Vladimir Kozlov. 83 min.
Max Manus: Friday, October 16, 6 pm
Directed by Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg (2008). Max Manus is a true story about one of the most brilliant saboteurs during World War II and his battle to overcome his inner demons. In spite of being one of the most wanted men by the Gestapo in Norway, Manus participated in some of the most daring sabotage attacks during the Second World War. After having fought as a volunteer in the Finnish-Russian Winter War, Manus returns home to a Norway occupied by the Germans, in the spring of 1940. Before long, he and his buddies Gregers Gram and Gunnar Sønsteby start making trouble for the Germans. They build up a resistance network, collect weapons and explosives, and undergo training in England. From their safe apartment in Oslo, they carry out sabotage attacks against important Nazi targets, and they become increasingly more devious. But the Gestapo investigator Siegfried Fehmer works determinedly and patiently to stop Manus, and soon he starts to unravel the network around him. In a meeting with Fehmer he realizes that everybody is a victim of the meaninglessness of war. 118 min.
Troubled Water/De usynlige: Friday, October 16, 8:30 pm & Wednesday, October 21, 6 pm
Directed by Erik Poppe (2008). How do you find light, joy and purpose in life after a blow of fate? Jan Thomas is a young man fresh from an eight-year prison sentence. The catalyst for his incarceration may have been an accident and may have been a premeditated murder, but regardless, the event still hangs over Jan like a dark shroud, tempering his memories and his actions. Upon release, Jan – a talented organist – lands a job in the local church as an organ player, and begins to develop feelings for Anna, a female priest who also happens to be a single mother. To avoid complications and protect the sanctity of the new relationship, Jan silently vows to withhold information about his troubled past from Anna, but the past catches up with him in the form of Agnes, a schoolteacher who visits the church and recognizes Jan – as the man responsible for her young son’s death. Troubled Water skillfully combines two strong stories about people who try to come to terms with the past – and with their own fate. They try to accept who they have become, and to find a new way to relate to love. Troubled Water is the third film in Erik Poppe’s trilogy which started with Schpaaa and Hawaii, Oslo. 121 min.
Kurt Turns Evil/Kurt blir grusom: Saturday, October 17, 3 pm & Saturday, October 24, 3 pm
Directed by Rasmus A. Sivertsen (2008). One day Kurt discovers that society basically does not respect forklift operators very much. His wife is an ambitious architect. His neighbor is a medical doctor. Not even Kurt’s own kids seem to be very happy about their father’s occupation. Even if Kurt is popular among his colleagues and likes to drive a forklift, he quits his job, and starts climbing the social ladder. He wants to become a doctor, he wants to get rich, and he wants to be somebody. In the end, he even wants to become Prime Minister. But he does not have much success in any of his projects, and as time goes by, Kurt turns…evil. 74 min.
The film week is supported by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York and the Norwegian Film Institute. Admission: $9 ($6 ASF members). Series Pass: $45 ($30 ASF Members). For further information visit Scandinaviahouse.org.