Wednesday, September 15, 2010

TIFF Notes:: Hjem Til Jul/Home for Christmas

image:: Q&A at screening of Hjem Til Jul/Home for Christmas, Bent Hamer & Nina Andresen-Borud, Kenneth M. Kambara

Hjem Til Jul premiered at TIFF and I saw the Monday screening. I've heard of Bent Hamer's Kitchen Stories {2003}, but never managed to see it::

I must say I was looking forward to an absurdist comedic film, or at least one with those elements, touching upon the theme of dysfunctional families. The film is adapted from a set of interconnected stories from Norwegian author Levi Henriksen. It's a somber film and was shot well...all of the scenes are at night, occurring during the course of a few hours on Christmas Eve. All of the characters seem to be in a "winter" of their own, seemingly "stuck" in a circumstance that evokes the cold and foreboding character of the season. I wanted more from the stories {and perhaps more absurdity}, which seemed to be introduced, but only showing a snippet of what's going on during those few hours on Christmas Eve. So, it was reminiscent of indie films like Jarmusch's Broken Flowers {2005}, where there is this absurdist meandering and nothing gets resolved. The journey is the reward.

What was truly irksome was the Q&A from the crowd. The most mundane questions were posed, like where was the film shot {listed in the end titles}, was it based on Hamer's life {er, no, based on Hendriksen's stories, also mentioned in the credits}, and the "shoot-me-in-the-head" question of "what did the film mean?" While it's great that TIFF is attended by the moviegoing public, the questions were embarrassing. My interests were more along the lines of the technical and the financing {it was a German, Swedisn, & Norweigian film}, which would have probably bored the pants off of many there, so what can you do. I'm pretty sure the film will get a North American distribution deal and has a chance to find an audience.

Twitterversion:: TIFF Screening notes from Bent Hamer's Hjem Til Jul/Home for Christmas. @Prof_K

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