Bad Boys for Life
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A strong biographical movie which somehow manages to maintain for the most part unbiased approach to showcasing of the legendary Norwegian Knut Hamsun. The perfomance by Max von Sydow is beyond any praise, the expertly portrayed Hamsun by him is so vivid and real that you totally forget that it's actually an actor.
The actors were unprofessional and the movie was boring. It had a slow pace and hurt my eyes to watch.
Quisling(n) - a traitor who aids an occupying force
In 1936, Nobel Laureate Knut Hamsun(Max von Sydow) and his wife of thirty years, Marie(Ghita Norby), have a massive row that lays bare the anger that has always existed just beneath the surface, especially as it involves their sending away the kids to boarding school so he can write and his not writing. In the meantime, Marie goes to hear a not-so-crowded lecture by National Socialist Vidkun Quisling(Sverre Anker Ousdal). So, when Marie and Knut reunite, they have something to talk about.
Aided by an excellent performance by Max von Sydow in the title role, "Hamsun" would have worked much better as an intimate drama, instead of going for epic stature which only serves to muddle the details of this potentially interesting story with marginally relevant family details. Overall, this is the life of a writer considered a national treasure in his home country of Norway who also acted against its national interests during World War II. In fact, Hamsun did try to use his position to do some good, but as a right wing anti-communist monarchist not having read the big print had no real idea who he was dealing with in the Nazis. It is also possible that he believed their propaganda just as the Nazis used him for propaganda purposes with the cameras going non-stop. All of which just goes to prove you cannot tell everything about an artist from their creative work.
art for arts sake + nationalism = fascism
I'm an admirer of Hamsun's brilliance as a writer based on his novel Hunger which is still one of the most powerful stories that I have ever read. I'm also slightly familiar with the controversy surrounding his views during the Nazi occupation of Norway and Jan Troell's film Hamsun gave me a better appreciation for those events. The film moved too slowly for me but I believe that it did justice to representing complex and difficult personal choices within the context and uncertainty of WW II rather than as if it were an indictment of personal choices made during a battle of good vs. evil based on the luxury of today's retrospective. Nonetheless, I still hold Hamsun's literary works in high regard even though his character has been judged to be flawed. To those familiar with Max von Sydow's dynamic portrayals and incisive presence on the screen in Ingmar Bergman's films, his presentation of a brilliant but confused Knut Hamsun as an old man might seem diminished in regard to those talents but it was certainly appropriate to the character and the story of this film.