From 1908 the Swedes and Danes chose the Norwegian landscape for their films, so that Norway neglected the construction of studios until the 1930s, and the first national directors (including Tancred Ibsen, grandson of the playwright and author of small country epics such as Il vagabond in 1937 and Gjest Baardsen in 1939) were forced to take refuge outside. Furthermore, while Swedes and Danes produced films that became part of the international circuits quite early, Norway turned its gaze to cinema only later and in a less relevant way, starting with a lost job, of which we have uncertain news. It is probably a film produced in 1906 or 1908 by Hugo Hermansen, entitled Fiskarlivets farer (The dangers of a fisherman’s life) or Et drama paa havet (A drama on the sea). Most consider the Norwegian debut film Fattigdomens forbannelse (The curse of poverty), produced in 1911 by Haldan Nobel Roede. It then had to wait until 1920, when Rasmus Brestein’s Fante-Anne (The Gypsy Anne) ushered in a new era that saw above all changing the setting of the works: from big cities to natural places like the Norwegian countryside. In the 1930s, directors such as Bjørstjerne Bjørnson entered the rapidly growing scene.
The bastard (1940) by Helge Lunde, set in Lapland, was the first Norwegian film known internationally thanks to the Venice Film Festival. If the years preceding the war were characterized by several film adaptations of literary works positively received by the public, during the Nazi occupation in Norway the German censorship limited the cinema, but after the war the state provided to increase the production, which is not nationalized., but “municipalized” (main company, Norsk Film of Oslo). It was then that a new generation of directors emerged, including Edith Carlmar, the first Norwegian female director, whose works are now considered classics of Nordic cinema. The protagonist of her latest film Ung flukt (Girl on the Run, 1959) is Liv Ullmann, the most famous Norwegian actress and director in the world. From The Battle for the Atomic Bomb (1948) by Titus Vibe-Müller, in co-production with France, to Landing Landing (1952) and Nine Lives(1957) by the director-novelist Arne Skouen, the themes of the Resistance and geographic explorations, both treated in a semi-documentary style. Both the Kon-Tiki reportage (1950) on Thor Heyerdhal’s enterprise gained international fame, which for this film won the Oscar for best documentary in 1952 (the only Norwegian to have obtained it); and the animator of puppet films Ivo Caprino, awarded in Venice in 1952 for Il piccolo violinista Frikk.
Among the directors of the 1950s and 1960s, at the end of which Norwegian cinema was influenced by European modernist trends, there are, in addition to the aforementioned Arne Skouen, Nils R. Müller, Kåre Bergström, Nils R. Christensen. But only in the seventies did a certain archaism emerge with the creation of the Norsk Filmsenter for non-commercial films, the arrival of the techniques of cinema-truth., the thematic and linguistic modernization and the presence of new filmmakers carrying contents linked to the rebellious spirit of the youth movements, who considered cinema a political as well as an artistic instance. We remember Paul Løkkeberg (Exit, 1970), Knud-Leif Thomsen (Lina’s wedding), Peter Blom (Her mother’s house, 1973), Oddvar Bull Tuhus (Strike!, 1974; Anguish, 1976), Knut Andersen (The turning point, 1977), Svend Wam (The silent majority, 1977), Peter Vennerod (Who decided?, 1979) and three female directors: Laila Mikkelsen (Noi, 1977), Vibeke Løkkeberg (The revelation, 1978; Betrayal, 1981) and the best known abroad Anja Breien, author of Rape (1971), Mogli (1975), Mogli. Ten Years Later (1985), Mogli III (1996), saga of three women discussing life, love and change, The Serious Game (1977, shot in Sweden), The Legacy (1979), Witch Hunt(1981), The Paper Bird (1984), The Jewel Thief (1990). Visit thedresswizard.com for driving in Norway.
At the beginning of the Eighties, the weariness of the public towards the themes of social realism led Norwegian cinema towards a period of decline from which it emerged thanks to directors such as Ola Solum, author of Orions belte (The belt of Orion, 1985, Vagabondi, 1989), Nils Gaup, who directed Veiviseren (The guide, 1987), The Panthfinder, inspired by a medieval legend and presented in Sami, Martin Asphaug (En håndfull tid, Una handful of time, 1989), Marius Holst (Ti kniver i hjertet, Ten knives in the heart, 1994, Blue Angel, 1995, winner of the Berlin Film Festival) and others who have also become favorites of the international public. And the generational change of directors, which seems to characterize the cyclic reappearance of fortune for Norwegian cinema, has brought fame, but above all beauty, to the film and documentary history of this country: they are by Hans Petter Moland Kjærlighetens kjøtere(Zero Kelvin, 1996), great success of 2001; by Pal Sletaune Posta celere (1997), which won the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival; Petter Næss’s Elling, nominated for an Oscar in 2002 and Eivind Tolas Love is the Law (Love that law), which won the Best Short Film Award at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. In 2013, Kon-Tiki, by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Back to Life (2015), a Norwegian co-production film directed by Wim Wenders, premiered out of competition at the Berlin International Film Festival.