Sunday, May 26, 2013

Film - Oslo, August 31st (2011)

On Sheila's recommendation I saw Joachim Trier's Oslo, August 31st recently, starring Anders Danielsen Lie a triple-threat: musician, actor, and doctor.  It's a beautiful interior portrait of a day in the life of an addict who, after time in rehab, is about to move back into society.  He gets a pass for a job interview and visits people and places from his former life, aware only of the gulf between where he was when he exited that life and the present.  Lie is one of those actors knows that the work is in preparing yourself to be inside the experience of the character and then to perform simple actions of living and let that work reveal itself.  You never watch the effort to communicate a thought or feeling, the wish to be something other than he is, you only see him where he is.  This film feels so private - a man trapped by his decisions, a man for whom disaster seems inevitable. What a beautiful film.


Sheila O'Malley said...

Ted - I'm so glad you saw it! Isn't it beautiful and sad? I absolutely loved the long scene between the two friends - starting at the apartment, and then out on their walk, in the park, on the bench. So well-written, so well-acted. You're right: very private.

Ted said...

Yes, a great scene. That feeling of friends together which films often have a hard time getting. The honesty of their exchange.

It was a sad story, but there was something about moments like with the friends - so unflinching - which made me feel more than just the shame of it.

Terrific recommendation!

Sheila O'Malley said...

It was so interesting: at Ebert Fest, the director talked about how he worked with Anders. Anders treated his character like a case study. He was analytical, probing, asking questions like, "would this character do such and such?" He referred to the character as "the character" or "he" - not "I". He kept his distance. He has probably treated drug addicts, so he knows the signs/symptoms ... That analytical approach is then totally thrown away when the camera is rolling. He is able to do that research, keeping a huge amount of distance between himself and the character - and then when the scene starts, there is no distance at all. The director was always amazed at how that process took place with this actor - he knew that all he needed to do was keep his camera on this guy's face - the entire story would be there at all times. But very interesting, yes?