Though the Norwegian comedy,
GANSKE SNILL MANN (A Somewhat Gentle Man), did not win the
Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival, it was awarded the
Berliner Morgenpost Audience Prize. That comes as no surprise as the
film was well received with much laughter and then great applause and
cheers when it ended. Aftonbladet's Jens Peterson described the film as
"Norway from a slightly different angle - almost like a Tarantino-Oslo."
Film report Kim Kastrup from Danish Ekstra Bladet thought it was a
fantastic film - "Extreme fun while it also touched me. I liked the mix
of comedy and seriousness. Fantastic actors, good direction and, of
course, a good script from Danish Kim Fupz Aakeson." Variety
Nordic correspondent Gunnar Rehlin says he gives the film five out of
six stars. And in the words of Stellan - "This is a stupid, tragic,
funny film because it's the way humans are."
Norway's Bergansavisen had nothing
but praise in their review:
This is the third time
Hans Petter Moland has worked with
Stellan Skarsgård, and the excellent
link between director and actor contributes to
this film simply being the best
Norwegian comedy in recent times... Moland
presents a movie landscape that is
reminiscent of the Coen brothers, and that has similarities with
the Aki Kaurismäkis "Man Without a Past".
But Moland goes deeper, creating an
overwhelming fun atmosphere in which vulnerability and longing ooze
forth between the hard times that life has
brought this loosely interwoven gang.
plays Ulrik with a myriad of shades, and his relaxed sobriety gives
the film a natural center of gravity. In the beginning he's
uncommitted against everything he is offered, but when he discovers
that his now adult son and his girlfriend are expecting a child, it
begins to change something in him. On one
level this is also a movie about how to treat each other and how
short the road is between intimacy and rejection.
female Canadian journalist praised the director for having made the
funniest sex scenes on film ever. She is referring to some of the scenes
between the 66-year-old Norwegian actress Jorunn Kjellsby and Stellan.
Moland claims they are "two of the bravest people I know" acknowledging
that there was much laughter when the scenes were recorded. Stellan
describes those scenes as easy, confirming that Jorunn is a damn good
actress and that the pair had much fun. He adds, "It was very cool
to do them, but with the required precision. The idea is that they will
be grotesque and touching at once. The Polish television program in the
background helped to get the right mood (chuckling)." He also heaps
praise on Moland - "He is one of the world's best directors, and has a
knack for getting confidence in the people he works with."
Ray Bennett of The Hollywood
Reporter described the film as "An oddball comedy with criminal
undertones." He writes, "Played for laughs drawn from characters rather
than funny lines, the Norwegian film is a charmer with Stellan Skarsgård
in a role worthy of his attention... It's the kind of film that sneaks
up on you and leaves a warm smile. It should do very well in
international markets and festivals will line up to offer applause...
Skarsgård, who uses his heavy body
and seen-it-all eyes to portray a man whose acceptance of the way the
wind blows can give way to sudden and matter-of-fact brutality. His face
also lights up in delighted bemusement when he realizes now and then
that he really hasn't seen it all."
is much to report about the Berlin Film Festival yesterday. I'm amazed that Stellan flew in on the same day of the photo
call, press conference and premiere of EN
GANSKE SNILL MANN (A Somewhat Gentle Man). What an exhausting
but thrilling day for him! And how was this black comedy received? Well,
fear not! The discerning festival audience giggled and laughed through
Stellan's many trials as Ulrich, the freed jailbird. Film critic Stephen
Schaefer of the Boston Herald wrote: "It’s unlikely any American
film would serve Skarsgård as well
as the Norwegian competition entry in the current Berlin film
festival... Dryly comic and absolutely on target every step of the way,
“Gentle Man” follows Skarsgård’s
entry after a dozen years behind bars back into society... Like Jeff
Bridges’ low-key work in 'Crazy Heart.' Skarsgård
doesn’t so much as play the character but inhabit this 'Somewhat Gentle
Man' - and never was a title more accurate. Funny? Very. Absorbing and
so satisfying, in the casting, performances and direction, 'A Somewhat
Gentle Man' might never be seen in the U.S. – and that would be sad
indeed." Click here for the
photo gallery - plenty of pics as Stellan presented all the Shooting
Stellan was in Oslo last week getting a "sneak peek" at his new gangster
comedy, he spoke with news publication VG Nett - "We were here for two
months last year to work on this film so my wife gave birth at Ullevål
Hospital in Oslo in April. A Norwegian film and a Norwegian child!"
Stellan explains it's not such a big difference between acting in
Hollywood films and Norwegian films. He says the difference lies with
the directors. "I am used to doing small independent films in between
all the Hollywood movies. It's just that Hollywood movies seem a lot
better because they have hundreds of millions in PR money." And although
many of his films are shot in Los Angeles, he still lives in Sweden. He
explains, "Scandinavia is so good. No starving. Everyone has access to
education and free medical attention. It is a good system." And does
Stellan enjoy a glamorous Hollywood life? He replies, "I only live the
glamorous life in LA when I'm working there. I've been staying at the
same hotel for 25 years but if I'm there for a longer period, I rent a
house so the family can join me.
European fans - BOOGIE WOOGIE will
become available on DVD (Region 2 format) on April 19th.
Norwegian film, Regnskap (Bad Accounting), has been retitled
GANSKE SNILL MANN (A Somewhat Gentle Man) and is headed to the
Berlin International Film Festival next week. Both director Hans Petter
Moland and Stellan will be in attendance. The film will be competing for
the Golden Bear, the grand prix of the festival, which runs from
February 11-21. It's been 15 years since a Norwegian film was chosen to
compete so there's obviously much excitement. This is Moland's first
comedy. Stellan Skarsgård stars as main character Ulrik, who is released
from prison after serving 12 years for killing his wife's lover. Thus
begins the trials of Ulrik as he tries to re-enter society. Stellan
refers to the film as "an unglamorous comedy with lots of eating and
lots of sex." Yes, you will view his bare arse once more! The cast also
includes Bjørn Floberg, Jannike Kruse Jåtog, Jan Gunnar Røise, Jorunn
Kjellsby, Aksel Hennie, Gard B. Eidsvold, Kjersti Holmen, and Bjørn
Sundquist. The film opens in Norwegian cinemas on March 19th.
In a recent interview with
Norway's NRK, Stellan admitted he should still be in LA shooting THOR,
but he was able to speed up his scenes so he could be released earlier.
Our Swede speaks highly of his director with whom he has worked with on
two previous films. "He is outrageous and incredibly intelligent. He
doesn't tell the actors what to do but rather what the scene should
contain. It allows enormous freedom within that framework to choose your
own expression, and it enriches the actors."
For trailers, film clips and interviews, check out these links:
Wednesday evening Stellan attended the premiere of the Swedish film, "Snabba
Cash" (Fast Cash) at the Rigoletto Theatre in Stockholm. He was
photographed with his two sons, Gustaf and Bill, as well as Gustaf's
guest, Hanna Zellekke-Colin. Click here
for the premiere photos.