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A focus on the raw edge of Norway

A focus on the raw edge of Norway

Norway is popular with vacationing Dutch people. Images of snowy mountains, fierce fjords, and the northern lights quickly arise when we think of the Scandinavian country. And in addition to all that natural beauty, the inhabitants are also one of the happiest populations in the world. But there is happening more beneath the surface. Behind the apparent peace and cleanliness, the Norwegians have a sharp and cynical view of society. With the program We Are Norway, Go Short focuses on Norwegian short film in its 12th festival edition and shows how the Norwegians hold up a mirror to themselves and us, in which nobody is spared.

In addition to films from Norway, we also focus on nature during Go Short, in the program We Are Nature. The link between these programs seems obvious, but appearances are deceptive. Norwegian filmmakers prefer to focus their lenses on each other rather than on the surrounding flora and fauna. Unspoiled nature and desolate places are the settings in which Norwegian films take place on a regular basis and offer plenty of inspiration and dramatic effect. But dry observations of people and society are central. They expose the curious behavior of our species in a critical and razor-sharp manner. Often cynical and subtle. Sometimes malevolent and confronting.

Norwegian makers

Compared to neighboring countries Sweden and Denmark, Norway may seem to be a little behind on the international stage with major films and series, or directors with worldwide fame. With Joachim Trier as the frontman for Norwegian cinema, a number of promising young filmmakers have been following in his steps in recent years. They develop their talent and ideas by making short films. Reason enough to zoom in on these filmmakers of the future from Norway.

In the first eleven editions of Go Short, no fewer than 45 short films from Norway were shown in various programs. In 2015, Norwegian filmmaker Gunhild Enger was the main guest at the festival and we showed her oeuvre and the films that inspire her. In recent years, several young Norwegian filmmakers have been noticed by their films on Go Short. Kristoffer Borgli has already shown his talent twice at Go Short, in 2015 and 2019. His latest film Former Cult Member Hears Music For The First Time can be seen in the Norwegian program this year. Kenneth Karlstad’s The Hunger was well received internationally and was part of the student competition at Go Short in 2018. This film is also part of We Are Norway in the coming edition.

We Are Norway consists of three unique programs: ‘Humans of Norway’, ‘Norwegian Girl Gangs’ and ‘Cynical Comedy from the North’.

Humans of Norway

‘Humans of Norway’ shows a whole range of crazy habits, personal problems and complex traits of people. In To Open, To See (Camilla Figenschou, 2012) we see a group of children undergoing a seemingly innocent but also disturbing discovery. Sami Boy (2015) by Elle Sofe Henriksen shows the inner struggle of a young reindeer herd from the far north. Gunhild Enger’s The Committee (2016) exposes the different identities of three Scandinavian countries with splitting precision and a sense of humor.

1. To Open, To See; 2. Sami Boy; 3. The Committee

Norwegian Girl Gangs

In ‘Norwegian Girl Gangs’, it becomes clear that a Norwegian girl will not let herself be fooled. She-Pack (Fanny Ovesen, 2018) is about an escalating birthday party with a loose group of friends in the lead. In contrast to this group dynamic, we see in Beast (Aasne Vaa Greibrokk, 2019) the individual within a group of teenage girls who are discovering their maturity. With Children of Satan (2019), Thea Hvistendahl shows in beautiful shots how two girls in church camp lose their grip on reality, with violent consequences.

1. She-Pack; 2. Beast; 3. Children of Satan

Cynical Comedy from the North

The films in ‘Cynical Comedy from the North’ prove that the Norwegians also have a good sense of humor. They excel in putting bittersweet stories full of painfully funny situations. The Proposal (Det Sporadiske Filmkollektivet, 2018) shows in a simple but effective way a thin-legged marriage proposal. The black comedy Dog Eat Dog (Rikke Gregersen, 2018) won the Student Academy Award and the Special Jury Prize at the BAFTA Student Film Awards last year. A film that makes you so uncomfortable that you don’t want to watch, but also makes you not want to miss a thing!

1. The Proposal; 2. Dog Eat Dog