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dir. Jan Troell / Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark 1996 / 159’
subtitles: Polish and English
retrospective: Jan Troell


Max von Sydow, Ghita Nørby, Anette Hoff, Eindride Eidsvold, Åsa Söderling, Jørgen Langhelle, Trond Høvik, Gard B. Eidsvold, Per Jansen, Bjørnar Teigen, Edgar Selge, Jesper Christensen, Svein Erik Brodal

Film description

A film biography of the great Norwegian author, Nobel prize laureate, disgraced by his collaboration with the Nazis. The film was inspired by the enormous documentary book by the Danish author and essayist Thorkild Hansen Processen mod Hamsun, published in 1978 and discussed broadly in Scandinavia. The screenplay was written by Per Olov Enquist, a playwright famous for his biographic plays about distinguished figures in Nordic culture. Hamsun was an expensive co-production of the three Scandinavian countries.

Troell decided to unravel the 'Hamsun mystery', to answer the question Scandinavians had struggled with for many years: how could a moral authority, an outstanding author, a personification of the Norwegian national spirit get so desperately lost in his philosophical and political choices?

The film's plot lasts from 1935 until 1952, showing the last period of the author's life, when his artistic work was suspended because of a long-lasting inspirational crisis and times when Hamsun actively participated in politics, supporting the puppet regime of Vidkun Quisling. The film gained a lot from the marvellous performance by Max von Sydow in the title role.

Tadeusz Szczepański

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