Autumn is the season for new, local films in Norwegian cinemas. The most anticipated release this fall is Gone with th Woman (Tatt av kvinnen), directed by Petter Næss (Elling) from a celebrated cult-novel by Erlend Loe. The story is about an unnamed man (He), and his encounter with a woman who decides to enter his life. Or as described by The Norwegian Film Institute: “…about a young man’s first tentative steps into the potential disaster area of love, about the female monologues that pass for dialogues, and the right of a modern man to decide who wears the pants in the family.”. The opening paragraph of Loe’s book explains a lot (and has become a much-quoted line in Norway):
That was when she started coming around more often. In the evenings, right before I turned in for the night. She would sit down and talk. Talk about how much she loved silence, and how great it was to spend time alone. Talk and talk and never stop.
The book was published in 1993, and within few years it had become a phenomenon, and its author Erlend Loe was catapulted into fame. Loe is educated as a screenwriter from The Danish Film School, and as a result of that his stories tend to carry with them a certain cinematic flare. So, when a film version of Gone with the Woman went into production last year, it came as no surprise – though Loe himself was not involved with the adaptation. A few years back, the story was adapted into a play – also directed by Petter Næss – and the same main actor, Trond Fausa Aurvåg (The Bothersome Man), now brings the persona of ‘He’ from theater to the silver screen.
Now, I have yet to see the film myself – it opens here friday 7th of September, but has already garnered rave reviews from local critics. The film is also a part of Toronto International Film Festival, and I really hope it finds an audience there. The programmers seem really fond of it, describing the main character like this: “[He] is a preternaturally lethargic bachelor leading what he considers a harmonious existence: cycles of work followed by staring blankly into space in his apartment,” and continuing; “The visual scheme is, at times, as hyper-stylized as a Jacques Demy movie, and as coolly unwelcoming as a Tarkovsky landscape”.
I know the filmmakers are really psyched about presenting the film in Toronto, and wish them the best of luck. Anyone going to Toronto will find the charming Norwegians through this information sheet. (And make sure to congratulate them on being Norway’s submission for Best Foreign film Oscar this year.)
When I’ve seen the film, I’ll be back with a review. Apart from being a huge fan of the source material and loving what I’ve seen of the film so far, I’m especially looking forward to seeing what famous Swedish actor Peter Stormare (Fargo) can make of the most fun supporting character from the book; Glenn. So to conclude here, I give you two still images from scenes involving Stormare’s character’s encounters with He in the local sauna (and then, the un-subtitled trailer):