STEALING HORSES has won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic
Contribution for its cinematography at this year’s Berlin International
Film Festival. Director/writer Hans Petter Moland is immensely grateful
for the prestigious award, as he comments: "After a week of getting
fantastic response from the audience, press and critics, to get an award
in Berlin, in competition with the elite of international films, is the
very top of it all."
Cinematographer Rasmus Videbæk
expressed his excitement about the award in the following comment:
"Getting recognition for the cinematography on this movie means a lot to
me. Not only is it based on my favorite book of all times, but working
with Hans Petter Moland on turning that book into cinema, was such a
an interview during the festival, Stellan described his relationship
with Moland - "I push him to be more creative and he pushes me to be
better, I believe. With him I may risk more than working with other
directors. We have been good friends since all of these great years
since I played in his movie "Zero Kelvin"
(1995). The first two Hans Peter's films in which I played were dark,
arthouse films. That was followed by two comedies, so I'm glad that he
returned to more serious filmmaking. I am also glad that he began to
explore his more tragic side and his own attitude towards nature because
he is very attached to the Norwegian wilderness."
Asked about the lack of humor in
the film, Stellan responded, "There are some comic moments in the film,
especially as far as my relationship with neighbor Lars is concerned,
but no more than that. There were scenes that were much funnier, but
Hans Petter cut them out, which was probably intended to maintain a
certain tension and melancholy in the film."
Stellan was asked if he was at all
like his character Trond and he replied, "No. Hans Petter is the one
that is more an outward type of man. We are very different. I like the
pulse of the city. Hans Petter is the type of man who finds the skis; he
goes on a mountain for two days, kills the deer with his own hands,
tears it with his teeth, then goes back home and puts food on the table.
I do not do this. (Laughter.) For me, he is a real man."
added more photos taken at the
Berlinale premiere of OUT STEALING HORSES that took place on
Saturday. According to producer Turid Overseen, the novel by Per
Petterson is the most popular, international Norwegian book ever. Of
course, adapting a book to the screen doesn't always work as we saw with
another Norwegian bestseller - "The Snowman" by Jo Nesbø.
Stellan told the press, "'Out Stealing Horses' is a fantastic book, but
I thought they can't make a film out of this one. But then Hans
Petter Moland got involved and I knew he was the right man for it. His
relationship to Norwegian nature is unparalleled". Petterson's novel was
published in 2003 and has been awarded several literary prizes in Norway
and in Europe. A Norwegian production company bought the book's film
rights in 2008, but the filming did not start for another decade.
The international reviews that
followed the festival premiere are very positive. The following critique
from Italy is what I believe to be an accurate account of its possible
flaws - "Moland is not able to maintain a continuous drama
tension throughout the long film life, often using visual shortcuts and
taking advantage of temporal jumps to deceive the
audience. But there are two aspects that, in some way, save
Moland's film. The first is the interpretation of Skarsgård,
which gives a certain senile melancholy to his character, being able to
communicate more with the silences and the looks than with words. The
second is the sequences where in the foreground there is the wild nature
of the woods of the Scandinavian peninsula, the shooting of the cuts of
the trees, the sound of the wind among the grass stems, the movement of
nature, photographed in a hyper-realistic way, bordering sometimes a
Malickian feeling of setting up the landscape that thus becomes a real
Have you noticed that Stellan most
often wears black (or navy blue)? Over the past 15 years, it's been more
difficult for me to identify undated photos. If you're reading this
Stellan - more variety needed! (laughing)
you remember how Stellan played his overweight brother in the
Mamma Mia sequel? Here are some photos showing him wearing a
multi-piece silicone prosthetic. The makeup folks said, "He was a joy to
work with - a beautiful man!"
some new premiere photos taken last year. The first two show Stellan
with Megan and their boys Ossian and Kolbjörn at the Halvdan Viking
premiere in Stockholm on October 26th. The next two show Stellan with
the two young stars of the film.
This last photo was taken at the Gräns
premiere in August.
OUT STEALING HORSES was featured at the
Berlin International Film Festival and included a photocall, press
conference and evening premiere. Representing the Norwegian film at the
festival were director Hans Petter Moland, Stellan and his co-stars
Bjorn Floberg, Tobias Santelmann, Danica Curcic and Jon Ranes plus
novelist Per Petterson. During the press conference, Moland spoke about
the challenge of adapting the book - "I loved the atmosphere and the
tone of the book. I love the ability of certain works to highlight the
deeper aspects of humanity, which in the book are treated in an engaging
way. It is not easy to describe the plot in a nutshell, but reading the
book was an incredible experience so I decided to turn it into a movie."
Stellan adds, "I had read the
script years ago, but I knew the book that is fantastic. Many people
tried to adapt it but Hans Petter succeeded where others had failed. He
managed to relate to the story, which does not surprise me. Hans is a
man of the wilderness. He drags me into snow at twenty degrees below
zero and we have fun."
Exceptional work on the image and sound, both conveyed Norwegian
nature on the big screen. Moland explains that he tried to paint
the tactile consistency of the forest by working with light and
shadow: "In the film there is very little sky, I wanted the
mystery and intimacy of the forest...
We wanted the sound of the forest to
be fundamental, we did not want music
to anticipate the vision or convey the
I often find soundtracks can be too
overwhelming and can sometimes be detrimental to the storyline.
These days they're even infusing this overly dramatic music
during true crime shows on television. It gets ridiculous. I
love natural sound in film, especially the sound of the ocean or
birdsong or crickets.
repeatedly demonstrated that he loves being surrounded by
trusted collaborators. "Calling
Stellan all the time is a limit to my originality" the
Scandinavian filmmaker jokes. "Every director who feels good
with a cast dreams of working together again, exploring new
characters. This is an uncertain
craft, looking for the company of the people you trust, with
whom you know you can work well
together. I feel privileged to have
this connection with Stellan. Having
people around you that make you feel courageous is the greatest
gift for a director." Regarding the
preparation of the role, Stellan adds
ironically: "Three months before I started to have a bad neck,
then moved to the stomach, a month before I was cold and cold,
all as usual".
As to why Stellan makes
the perfect Trond in his film, Moland replies, "He carries a
soulfulness that he doesn’t flaunt. He can play a reserved
character and remain very interesting. That’s his gift as a
human being and as an actor. He doesn’t rely on dialogue. Then,
when we work, we enjoy making ourselves as brave as we can to
make the movie as good as possible. He’s a generous and fine
human being, wonderful with his colleagues and crew. It makes
the working part easier. Stellan hasn’t much in common with his
character Trond, as he’s a city slicker and the only time he
gets close to nature is perhaps when he works with me! But he’s
keenly interested in portraying people who are different than
himself and does that with great skills."
In reviewing the film, Deborah
Young of The Hollywood Reporter writes, "Skarsgård
makes a thoughtful, reassuring first-person narrator. His mobile
features react to the people and things around him but he never
over-plays his hand... One of the pleasures of this extremely sensual
film is the way it elicits physical sensations in the viewer through
expressive camerawork, cutting and sound effects. Dramatic moments are
signaled by a low rumbling like an avalanche arriving. While the
ever-changing spectacle of nature filmed by cinematographer Rasmus
Videbaek enchants the eye, it is intensified by Klaus Kaae’s sweetly
Moland was also questioned about
the comments Liam Neeson made when promoting the director's "Cold
Pursuit", an American version of "In Order of Disappearance." Evidently
Neeson told Britain's Independent newspaper last week that 40 years ago,
upon hearing that a friend was allegedly raped by a black attacker, he
wanted to "unleash physical violence" and walked the streets hoping to
kill some "black bastard." In the wake of his remarks, Tuesday’s red
carpet at the New York premiere of Moland’s revenge drama was canceled
just hours before guests were to arrive.
Speaking today in Berlin, Stellan
said: "I find it disturbing and frightening to live in a world where
people get punished not only for their deeds, but they get punished also
for what you say. You can get punished for what you think. But most of
all you get punished for what people think you think." Moland said
audiences should read Neeson's quotes in context rather than "listening
to what is said on Twitter." He added: "I made a film about the futility
of revenge. It makes fun of all the gangster stereotypes, all of the
other kind of stereotypes you can think of. It’s a cautionary tale about
revenge, and I’d like people to see it for that."
For all the photos from today's
events, check out the Berlin gallery.
an interview at the Berlin Film Festival today, Stellan admits his time
at the famous European festival will be limited because he is presently
filming in Trollhättan in Norwegian writer/director Maria Sødahl's film
HÅP ("Hope"). Filming began
on February 1. Maria happens to be the wife of Hans Petter Moland! She
is shown on the left in the above photo with her two leads. Andrea Bræn
Hovig plays Anja who comes back home for Christmas after an
international tour with her dance company. Her life companion Tomas (Stellan),
their three children, along with three older children from previous
relationships, are all gathered in the pre-Christmas celebration when Anja suddenly finds out that she has a life-threatening brain
metastasis. She and Tomas have a shaky relationship which is put to the
test as both go through an emotional rollercoaster while looking for
film is based on Maria's own experiences of being first affected by lung
cancer and a year later by a brain tumor. Stellan emphasizes that this
is not a documentary and not a portrait of Hans Petter Moland. He
admits, "I wouldn't be able to play Hans Petter. He speaks so slowly."
The film is set to premiere in October.
Tomorrow is the premiere of OUT STEALING HORSES
at BIFF. This is the fifth film that Hans Petter Moland and Stellan
have done together. Stellan often complains and jokes that Moland forces
him to film when it is icy and it was the same this time. He indicates
that the guy who plays his younger version lucked out with his scenes
filmed in the summer while Stellan's scenes were done in the winter when
he was freezing his ass off. Of course, Stellan is a veteran at Berlin's
festival. He says, "We are just as old, and the first time I was here,
it was my first film festival and I won the actor award for 'Den Enfaldige mördaren'".
an English-language remake of "In Order of Disappearance",
renamed "Cold Pursuit" with Liam Neeson opens widely in theaters this
weekend, Netflix has now made the original available. The story is
quirky and often dryly amusing, recalling both the Coen brothers’
"Fargo" and Quentin Tarantino’s "Pulp Fiction". It’s chatty for a
gangster picture, and while camera movements and framing are fairly
non-flashy, the locations occasionally provide an extra comic kick. The
film is filled with familiar faces from European cinema, including "Game
of Thrones" Kristofer Hivju as an ill-fated mob henchman, Peter
Andersson as Nils’ shady brother, and Bruno Ganz as a Serbian crime lord
who swoops into town and escalates the shooting war. Personally, I loved
the film so if you haven't seen it yet, give it a try!
has just been announced that CHERNOBYL, the five-part mini-series
about the catastrophic 1986 nuclear disaster, will be shown in May on
Sky Atlantic in the UK and HBO in the US. Here is the first shot of
Stellan in his role as Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris
Shcherbina, who is assigned by the Kremlin to lead the government
commission on Chernobyl in the hours immediately following the accident.
His hair makes him look Russian and very distinguished.
upcoming film, "The Aftermath" will be premiering in the UK on
March 1 and in the US on March 15th. Directed by James Kent, the love
story is based on the novel of the same name. The film is set in
postwar Germany in 1946. Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the
ruins of Hamburg in the bitter winter to be
reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British colonel
charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for
their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an
unexpected decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its
previous owners, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his troubled
daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to
passion and betrayal.
I try to avoid Keira Knightley
films though I couldn't pass up the "Pirates" series and perhaps I'll
give in to this one because of Alexander's presence. Ms. Knightley's
continued struggle with anorexia greatly
damages her believability in her roles and causes too much distraction
to the story. The Telegraph once wrote that several critics believe she
is often miscast - "It's hard to listen to what she's saying when all
you want to do is feed her chips." [laughing] So true!
Here is an Italian poster of the
film featuring just Alex. Yummy!
And I came across this photo shoot
that I particularly like that was taken in Stockholm a couple years ago.
Hummingbird Project" will also debut on March 15th. The plot reads,
"Cousins Vincent and Anton are players in the high-stakes game of
high-frequency trading, where winning is measured in milliseconds. Their
dream is to build a straight fiber-optic cable line between Kansas and
New Jersey, making them millions, but nothing is straightforward for
this flawed pair. Anton is the brains, Vincent is the hustler, and
together they push each other and everyone around them to the breaking
point with their daring adventure."