German support for Liv Ullmann film

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A new film that’s due to star Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullmann has won more than NOK 5 million in support from a German film fund. The Norwegian-German production will start filming this summer.

Liv Ullmann PHOTO: Telenor

The German film fund Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen joins the Norwegian Film Institute in backing the film entitled To liv (Two lives), described as a fictional thriller-drama based on historic facts. It tells the story of a former Stasi spy named Katrine who falls in love with a Norwegian and settles in Bergen with family and a career.

Her past, however, comes back to haunt her when tormented children born of Norwegian mothers and German fathers during World War II sue the Norwegian state over the ill treatment they received after the war. As one of the children, now grown, Katrine is approached to get involved in the suit, which threatens to expose her Stasi connections.

Liv Ullmann is due to play the leading role as Katrine’s mother, although she told newspaper Dagsavisen that she hasn’t signed a contract yet. Ullmann’s character, Åse, is that of a Norwegian woman who had a child with a German soldier and then was tormented herself and forced to give up the child. The child was sent to Germany and grew up in the former East Germany. Mother and child weren’t reunited for 25 years.

Several other Nowregian actors have roles in the film, which is being directed by Georg Maas of Germany. Its Norwegian producer is Axel Helgeland, through the company Helgeland Film.

The film has a budget of NOK 25 million, a quarter of which is from Norwegian sources. Most of it will be played out in Norwegian, meaning German actress Juliane Köhler, who plays the former Stasi spy Katrine, is undergoing intensive Norwegian language instruction. Köhler also played Eva Braun in the recent film Die Untergang, about Hitler’s final days.

The film is Ullmann’s first film role after she returned as an actress after several years of directing. She most recently toured Norway in a highly acclaimed sold-out production of A Long Day’s Journey into Night on stage.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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