Mona J. Hoel – Når nettene blir lange AKA Cabin Fever (2000)

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The entire extended family is happily on its way to a nostalgic Christmas at a rented cabin in the mountains. The cabin becomes cramped, however, when mom and dad and four grown-up children with their respective families, a dog and in-laws from Poland squeeze inside the frozen cabin walls in 30-below-zero weather.

Especially when the kerosene stove leaks, one of the children suffers from asthma, one of the daughters is lovesick, mom desperately tries to stay happy and dad is oh so thirsty. The Polish father-in-law sings his beautiful love ballads, the Swedish neighbour drops by for a slow waltz, the children go ice fishing, the dog wallows wildly in the close quarters, mom makes huge meals – and aren’t we having a wonderful time? Daughter Liv wishes for reconciliation, fervently hoping that there is a future for herself and her family. Yet at the same time she lances a boil which hides more than her father’s “skeletons” under the mattress. Continue reading

Liv Ullmann – Miss Julie (2014)

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August Strindberg felt that the entire world had gone crazy. The “norms” of class hierarchies and gender roles were starting to shatter, and he saw chaos pouring into that vacuum. His 1888 play “Miss Julie” is the prime example, although it’s evident in all of his other disturbing, great modern works. “Miss Julie” plays in almost real-time, taking place in one setting over the course of a single evening, Midsummer Night’s Eve, the one long night of the year when the classes blend together, when rich dance and drink with poor, when the boundaries have blurred. There are only three characters in the play, and it opens with Jean, an upwardly-striving valet remarking to his pal and sort-of girlfriend, the kitchen maid, that “Miss Julie is crazy!” Miss Julie is the daughter of the count in whose manor they both work. Continue reading

Hans Petter Moland – Kraftidioten AKA In Order of Disappearance (2014)

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Nils snow ploughs the wild winter mountains of Norway, and is recently awarded Citizen of the Year. When his son is murdered for something he did not do, Nils wants revenge. And justice. His actions ignite a war between the vegan gangster the Count and the Serbian mafia boss Papa. Winning a blood feud isn’t easy, especially not in a welfare state. But Nils has something going for him: Heavy machinery and beginners luck. Continue reading

Thomas Vinterberg – Festen [+Extras] (1998)

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The Father turns 60. His family, which is a big one of the kind, gathers to celebrate him on a castle. Everybody likes and respects the father deeply…or do they? The Youngest Son is trying to live up to The Father’s expectations. He is running a grill-bar in a dirty part of Copenhagen. The oldest son runs a restaurant in France, while the sister is a anthropologist. The older sister has recently committed suicide and the father asks the oldest son to say a few words about her, because he is afraid he will break into tears if he does it himself. The oldest son agrees without arguments. Actually he has already written two speeches. A yellow and a green one. By the table, he asks the father to pick a speech. The father chooses green. The oldest son announces that this is the Speech of Truth. Everybody laughs, except for the father who gets a nervous look on his face. For he knows that the oldest son is about to reveal the secret of why the oldest sister killed herself. Continue reading

Jannicke Systad Jacobsen – Få meg på, for faen AKA Turn Me On, Dammit! (2011)

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TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! is a whimsical and refreshingly honest coming of age story about the blossoming sexuality of a teenage girl. The feature debut of Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, the film won the Best Film prize at Norway’s national film awards, the Amandas, as well as Best Screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival and Best Debut Film at the Rome Film Festival.

15-year-old Alma (Helene Bergsholm) is consumed by her out-of-control hormones and fantasies that range from sweetly romantic images of Artur, the boyfriend she yearns for, to down-and-dirty daydreams about practically everybody she lays eyes on. Alma and her best friend Sara live in an insufferably boring little town in the hinterlands of Norway called Skoddeheimen, a place they loathe so much that every time their school bus passes the sign that names it, they routinely flip it off. After Alma has a stimulating yet awkward encounter with Artur, she makes the mistake of telling her incredulous friends, who ostracize her at school, until Sara can’t even be seen with her. At home, Alma’s single mother is overwhelmed and embarrassed by her daughter’s extravagant phone-sex bills and wears earplugs to muffle Alma’s round-the-clock acts of self-gratification. Continue reading

Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen – Izzat (2005)

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Izzat paints an image of Oslo, Norway’s capital, and its crime-environment in the mid-90’s. We follow Wasim and his involvement in Eastside Crew, the crime-gang mostly consisting of second-generation Pakistanis in Norway. What makes this movie extra special, is the realness of it all. Based on actual events, the film marks a flashy debut for Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen, the director. Continue reading