Norwegian director Joachim Trier had a much better week at the Cannes Film Festival than his distant Danish relative, Lars von Trier, who got kicked out of Cannes for making anti-Semitic remarks. Norway’s Trier won rave reviews for his film “Oslo 31. august,” which made its international premiere.
“It’s been a very good week!” Trier enthused to newspaper Dagsavisen in the midst of interviews with French and Russian television and a host of other reporters in Cannes. “There’s been a lot of joy, nerves and feelings.”
Trier’s film was a hit with the critics, scoring top marks in Norwegian newspapers and even being hailed with such superlatives as “poetic,” “self-confident” and “beautiful,” in international reviews as well. It won’t premiere in Oslo, though, until, appropriately enough, August 31, when there’s likely to be another round of reviews.
“I’m delighted with all the reviews, they hopefully reflect what the reviewers have seen,” Trier told Dagsavisen. “And that will help us get people out to go see the film.”
Trier noted that the invitation to Cannes came as a big surprise, and he finished editing the film just three weeks ago. “This is a close, personal story and I have been sitting alone with it for a long time, and then suddenly it’s a public thing,” Trier said. “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, it’s all a bit shocking.”
‘A portrait of contemporary Oslo’
The film has been described by the Norwegian Film Institute as “a portrait of contemporary Oslo,” involving one man in one city for 24 hours. The institute called it a “visually striking and quietly shattering drama about a man in deep existential crisis.” It stars Norwegian actors Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner, Ingrid Olava and Petter With.
Trier, born in 1974, made his feature film debut with Reprise in 2006, which won several awards and him the Best Director Award at the Karlovy Vary film festival that year. Trier was named among industry journal Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch” and he also won awards in Norway and at festivals in Istanbul, Rotterdam and Milan. Oslo 31. august is his second feature film.
Trier didn’t have much to say about fellow director Lars von Trier’s fate as “persona non grata” at the film festival after saying he “understood Hitler” and thinks Israel is “a pain in the ass.”
“I haven’t picked up everything, but I’ve heard rumors and one festival director told me it was a very unfortunate scandal,” Trier said. “At the same time he (von Trier) is an artist who wants to and shall set himself apart, but a press conference isn’t the best place to explore the theme.”
Trier said he had felt one effect of the scandal himself: “Someone called out to me: ‘Hi, you’re the nice Trier!'”
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