A Norwegian film that won’t debut in Norway itself until later this month has nonetheless been chosen as the country’s candidate for an Oscar. “1001 Grams” will instead premiere this weekend at the Toronto Film Festival, and then possibly win a nomination as best foreign film at the next Academy Awards in Hollywood.
The film, directed by Norwegian Bent Hamer, tells the story of a Norwegian scientist named Marie Ernst who is asked to attend a seminar in Paris about the actual weight of a kilo, and to recalibrate the National Norwegian kilo. She ends up being forced to confront how much a human life weighs and, according to the Norwegian Film Institute, which measurements she intends to live by.
The film stars Norwegian actress Ane Dahl Torp as the obsessed scientist Marie, who meets a more relaxed Frenchman in Paris named Pi, a former scientist at the bureau of international pounds and measures BIPM, played by Laurent Stocker. Romance blossoms as the film proceeds on two very different yet similar levels.
It’s the third time a film by Hamer has been chosen as Norway’s candidate for an Oscar nomination. Neither Psalms from the Kitchen in 2003 nor O’Horten from 2008 won a nomination but Hamer remains a highly respected director who’s also well-known in the industry.
Sindre Guldvog, director of the Norwegian Film Institute that chooses Norway’s Oscar candidates, said 1001 Grams was selected because “it has qualities that we believe can represent Norway in an excellent manner for an Oscar nomination. It’s well-made and Bent Hamer is a familiar name who has been through this before.”
Hamer, who dedicated the film to his wife who died last summer, said he was “happy and humbled” by the recognition from the Film Institute. “This is real recognition when there were so many good candidates,” Hamer said on Norway’s national nightly newscast Dagsrevyen. His film won out over two other finalists including Eskil Vogt’s Blind and Hisham Zaman’s Brev til Kongen (Letter to the King).
Two other Norwegian films will debut at the film festival in Toronto this weekend: Liv Ullmann’s Frøken Julie (Miss Julie) and Ole Giæver’s Mot Naturen (Out of Nature). Ullmann’s film is based on the play by August Strindberg but is set in Ireland instead of Strindberg’s Sweden. Mot Naturen is about a man in his 30s living in a small town in Norway who runs away to the mountains. Both will debut in Norway later this month.