Erik Poppe – Schpaaa aka Bunch of Five (1998)

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Jonas and Emir are members of a criminal gang of 14-15 year-olds in Oslo. Emir has slight brain-damage after being beaten by his father as a 5-year-old, and Jonas’ biggest problem is stopping Emir from hitting people on the head. One day, they are offered a job by a gang of drug-dealers: Deliver a packet of heroin to one guy and beat up another. This is the start of a chain of events that sends their lives spiraling out of control. Continue reading

Erik Poppe – DeUsynlige aka Troubled Water (2008)

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AMG: How does one start anew after a checkered personal history threatens to extinguish all hope and the possibility of redemption? Such is the question that lies at the heart of De Usynlige, Norwegian director Erik Poppe’s earnest psychological drama of second chances. Pal Sverre Hagen stars as Jan Thomas, 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 (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), 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. Continue reading