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Celebration of 100 Years of Norwegian Cinema

Tuesday, June 6----The Troia International Film Festival is presenting a celebration of the 100th anniverary of Norwegian cinema. The program, which is sponsored by the Norwegian Film Institute in cooperation with the
Norwegian Embassy

in Portugal, is showcasing 10 films, which range from an early silent gem to two films from the current Norwegian auteur Bent Hamer.

The Tribute program began on the Festival opening night, with the rare screening of the 1917 silent film TERJE VIGEN, directed by auteur Victor Sjostrom. Based on an epic poem by Henrik Ibsen, the movie tells the story of a sailor who settles down to a life of blissful domesticity until his world is thrown into chaos with the Napoleonic Wars. The film was presented with an original score by famed Norwegian composer Ketil Bjornstad.

The program then shifted 100 years to the Portugese premiere of FACTOTUM, the lastest work from Norwegian rising star Bent Hamer. The film, based on the writings of American bohemian poet Charles Bukowski, stars Oscar-nominated actor Matt Dillon as a boozy writer (based on Bukowski), who finds solace with wine, women and song. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and is making the rounds of the Festival circuit.

Hamer's first film, the acclaimed KITCHEN STORIES, is also being screened. The film is an absurdist comedy about government surveillance and intervention in our lives, as inspectors of the ficituious Home Research Institute silently observe the kitchen routines of single men. The film won an Amanda Award as Best Film in 2003 (the Norwegian Oscar), with Hamer winning Best Director honors at both the Copenhagen and Sao Paolo Film Festivals that year.

Other Norwegian films screening in the program, include: HOLD MY HEART, a heart-rending drama about a divorced man who kidnaps the young daughter that he is never allowed to see, directed with great sensitivity by Trygve Allister Diesen; ZERO KELVIN (director, Hans Petter Moland) based on a famed Danish novel, takes place in the austere beauty of East Greenland in 1928; BURNT BY FROST (Knut Erik Jensen), is set during and after World War II in the Norwegian areas that were occupied by the Nazis and liberated by the Soviet Red Army; and THE PROMPTER (Hilde Heier), a relationship drama set in the world of the opera.

Other films in the program include: I AM DINA (director, Ole Bornedal), a period drama set in the 1860's, about an eight year girl, who accidentally kills her mother and loses the love of her father, who eventually grows into a fiery woman with an indomitable lust for life, a role which won its lead actress Maria Bonnevie prizes as Best Actress at the Amanda Awards and the Montreal World Film Festival; KISSED BY WINTER (Sara Johnsen), a contemporary love story about a successful woman physician who moves to a small Norwegian village to start a new life, but whose memories of her past continue to haunt her; and AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, director Erik Skjoldbjaerg's modern-day update of the classic play by Henrik Ibsen, which charts the course of a man who risks all to tell the truth and becomes estranged from the tight knit community he once was so involved in.

The mix of genres and directorial styles of the films presented demonstrates the vitality of the contemporary Norwegian film scene. Accepting honors at the Opening Night ceremonies was Jan Erik Holst, the Director of International Department for the Norwegian Film Institute. A cocktail reception last evening on the rooftop terrace of the Hotel Esperanca, sponsored by the Norwegian Embassy, brought out all the Festival visiting guests, who were entranced by the view of the sunset over the azure waters of the Setubal coast.

Sandy Mandelberger
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Online Dailies from the 22nd Troia International Film Festival

Dates: 2-11 June 2006


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