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Kon Tiki-Movie Review *** 11/11/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Adventure, Amanda Awards, Based on true events, European Film Awards, Golden Globes, Movies, Norwegian Int'l Film Festival, Norwegian language film, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Satellite Awards.
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Kon Tiki (Norwegian) 2012 ***
Based on true events, as also recorded in a book and documentary film by Thor Heyerdahl.

Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Starring Pal Sverre Hagen and Odd Magnus Williamson

Click here for IMDB’s complete list of awards and nominations
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globes

Very interesting and engaging story of a real-life adventure, undertaken by a group of Norwegians (and one Swede) led by Thor Heyerdahl. In 1947, with little to no experience on the open seas, they set out to prove Heyerdahl’s idea that the Polynesian Islands were long ago populated by people from Peru.

The men construct a raft using mostly methods and materials thought to be used by Peruvian sailors 1500 years ago. After sailing nearly 5,000 miles westward across the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, they make landfall in Polynesia after 101 days. They survived against some incredible odds, and their story has become a legend in Norway and elsewhere.

I watched the Norwegian version of the film, but there is an English version, which in this case I suggest watching. The English subtitles left something to be desired, and I had to keep stopping the movie to read them. The Special Features are worthwhile mostly for some interviews with Heyerdahl and with people who knew him.

Look for the original documentary created by Thor Heyerdahl, which includes actual footage shot on board the raft. This film won an Academy Award in 1951. Although the documentary gives the impression that they did not have much in the way of difficulties, the later film (and apparently the book, which I have not read) understandably shows otherwise.

Highly recommended.

118 min. Rated PG-13.


A Somewhat Gentle Man-Movie Review 08/13/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Amanda Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, Chlotrudis Awards, Dark Comedy, Hans Petter Moland, Movies, Norway, Norwegian language film, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards.
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A Somewhat Gentle Man (Norwegian) 2010
En ganske snill mann

Directed by Hans Petter Moland
Starring Stellan Skarsgard, Bjorn Floberg, Gard Eidsvold, Jorunn Kjellsby, and Jannike Kruse

WINNER, Best Actor (Skarsgard); NOMINATED, Best Film; Best Editing; Best Supporting Actress (Kjellsby), Amanda Awards, Norway
WINNER, Reader Jury of the “Berliner Morgenpost” (Moland); NOMINATED, Golden Berlin Bear (Moland), Berlin International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Skarsgard), Chlotrudis Awards
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

A dark comedy from the north country, with a suitably quirky sense of humor and a very amusing cast of characters.

When Ulrik (Skarsgard) is released from prison after serving a 12 year sentence for murder, he tries to escape from the revenge plot put into action by his former associates.

103 min. Not rated. Suitable for adults and older teens.


The Other Side of Sunday-Movie Review 11/01/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Based on a novel, Dark Comedy, Drama, Norwegian language film.
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The Other Side of Sunday (Norwegian) 1996
Søndagsengler (Sunday Angels)

Winner, Best Actress (Marie Theisen) Tokyo International Film Festival
Nominated, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards

Based on the novel Sunday by Reidun Nortvedt
Directed by Berit Nesheim
Starring Marie Theisen and Bjørn Sundquist

A darkly comic tale about Maria (Theisen), a teenage girl growing up in Norway in the late 1950s. Maria lives in a repressive household strictly governed by her vicar-father. Since her mother is sickly and often absent, Maria strikes up a friendship with Mrs. Tunheim, a volunteer at the church.

Maria is dealing with growing doubts about the existence of God as well as her desire to fit in with the cool kids. Mrs. Tunheim secretly encourages Maria’s developing sexuality and sense of freedom by giving her a pair of earrings and showing her how to wear lipstick. Unfortunately, as Maria finds out, Mrs. Tunheim is not happy and free in her own life.

My favorite quote from the subtitles is Maria’s expletive: “Dog darn it!” which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue in English, but does reflect Maria’s personality.

103 min. Rated PG-13.

Reprise-Movie Review 09/22/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, Movies, Norwegian language film.
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Reprise (Norwegian) 2008

Official Selection, Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals

Starring Espen Klouman Høiner, Anders Danielson Lie and Viktoria Winge
Directed by Joachim Trier

A pair of friends who are both aspiring authors submit their novels to publishers at the same time. Phillip Reisnes (Lie) gets published immediately and his book is wildly successful; Erik Høiaas (Høiner) gets only a pile of rejection slips. But afterward Phillip has an emotional breakdown and problems with his girlfriend Kari (Winge) escalate. As for Erik, he must find the inner confidence to keep on writing.

The film follows Phillip and Erik as they stumble their ways through changing relationships and friendships.

107 min. Rated R. Some sexual content and rough language.


The Bothersome Man-Movie Review 09/14/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Dark Comedy, Movies, Norwegian language film.
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The Bothersome Man (Norwegian) 2007

Among other awards:
Winner, Best Director; Best Actor (Aurvag); Best Screenplay, Amanda Awards (Norway’s Oscars)
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival; Cannes Film Festival

From Film Movement. Directed by Jens Lien; starring Trond Fausa Aurvag.

A quirky, darkly comical commentary on life in modern Scandinavia. After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, Andreas (Aurvag) finds himself mysteriously transported to a new job and a new apartment in a new city. As his boss tells him, “It’s important that you’re happy.” At first Andreas goes along with the situation, but everything and everyone around him seems colorless and bland. Soon he discovers that most people have no emotional responses or sensual appreciation of the world.

Aurvag’s wide-eyed look is a good match for conveying Andreas’s growing reaction to what’s going on around him.

There are bloody scenes (as should be expected when someone gets hit by a train three times in a row).

90 min. Unrated. Bloody violence and some sexual content.