ZERO KELVIN

(aka Kjærlighetens kjøtere)

Sweden/Norway, 118 min.

director.gif (905 bytes)Hans Petter Moland

CAST

Stellan Skarsgård - Randbaek
Gard B. Eidsvold - Henrik Larsen
Bjørn Sundquist - Jakob Holm

Camilla Martens - Gertrude

BASED ON THE NOVEL

Larsen by Peter Tutein


THEATRE RELEASE

29 September 1995 (Norway)
26 January 1996 (Sweden)
27 November 1996 (USA)

 

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SYNOPSIS

Henrik Larsen (Eidsvold), a romantic young poet and hopeless romantic living in Oslo, Norway, looks to broaden his horizons with travel and adventure. He leaves behind his girlfriend, Gertrude,  (Martens) to spend a season experiencing life far from civilization. He signs on at a hunting outpost in the frozen wilderness of Greenland. The naive writer finds his optimistic assumptions about human nature tested when he meets the two veteran fur trappers on the site.

Holm (Sundquist) is a tight-lipped amateur scientist in self-imposed exile from humanity. He keeps up with developments in the world he left behind by reading yellowed newspapers reporting events from long ago. Randbaek (Skarsgård) has lived so long in isolation that he's become half animal himself. A brute with a morbid, gallows sense of humor, he taunts the cultivated greenhorn mercilessly, missing no chance to humiliate him. The cunning, vulgar Randbaek soon becomes Larsen's nemesis and the writer must use all of his strength and wit to survive. As each man becomes more and more frustrated with the other, their inability to rely physically or psychologically on one another hinders their ability to survive in a hostile environment and forces a violent and stunning confrontation.

button_box.gif (205 bytes)ACCOLADES:

Zero Kelvin won the Special Jury Prize in San Sebastian, Spain in 1995, Best Director in Cancun, Mexico; the Norwegian Amanda for Best Film; the «Asta» (Grand Prix) at the Copenhagen European Film Festival; and the Prix de Jeune Public in Rouen, France. It received a broad international release, and was well received by both critics and audiences around the world.


button_box.gif (205 bytes)DIRECTOR HANS PETTER MOLAND:

"What fascinated me was that you took a person who was innocent and had all the ideals our culture nourishes, who believed in democracy and the right to write and common courtesy. All of that. And then you place him in a locale where all those ideals are non-existent... and where there is no love. And that is the central theme of the film -- love's meager nourishment"  

"Larsen was too boring a title; Kjaerlighetens Kjøtere [approx. Hounds Of Love] is great in Norwegian because of the contrast of the words - with love, which is honest and fragile and beautiful, and hounds, which are dark and brutal and mean - but it doesn't really work in English. Zero Kelvin is the closest we could come to describing the emotional temperature of the film."


button_box.gif (205 bytes)STELLAN:

"I could see from the outset that it was a rewarding character to play because there were absolutely no limits to what he could do... It's one of the most delicious parts I've ever played. I've never been such a bastard before."

"The possibilities to expand in different directions in terms of making him unbelievably terrible, ugly and filthy, and yet at the same time, I tried to make him humane in a certain sense. To give him another dimension so that you might - for a second - understand him."

"It was a very rewarding part because Randbaek could do almost anything. There were no limits to him and it was very hard to over-act him. But, of course, to a certain extent it was physically demanding working in Spitzbergen under the conditions that we worked. I really enjoyed it because it's so nice to play such an asshole."

"It has enough interesting psychology to be at least as attractive to women as it is men. It is a film that I am very proud of."


button_box.gif (205 bytes)PRODUCTION NOTES:

Shot a hundred or so miles above the Arctic Circle in Svalbard, Norway, the $3 million production required freezing a soundstage at Norsk's studios in Jar down to -10 degrees Celsius.

IMAGES

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PRAISE:

''Zero Kelvin pretty much belongs to Mr. Skarsgård, who recently made a splash as the lusty oil-rigger in Breaking the Waves. His role as a tormented Nordic Paul Bunyan in the new film is even juicier and should cinch his movie image as a modern Viking roughneck. As Randbaek swings from homicidal rages to unexpected bouts of weepy self-pity, Mr. Skarsgård lends the character a tragic stature."     ...NY Times

"Zero Kelvin gathers a real force, also due in no small part to the excellent performances. Skarsgård, in particular, does stunning work in a role that is the opposite of his turn as the sensitive husband in Breaking the Waves."    ...The Hollywood Reporter

"Skarsgård, in particular, is a marvel here, never more commanding or telling than when he goes on his vulgar tirades about women and sex. He seems to suffer from testosterone poisoning."   ...Sacramento Bee

"Skarsgård, who made a name for himself with American audiences as the crippled oil rigger Jan in Breaking the Waves, creates a soul-searing portrait of a suffering monster. His Randbaek is a filthy, cruel bear of a man - a drunk, a sadist, a poet of obscenity - yet one whose humanity still flickers dimly. If someone creates a museum of contemporary cinema's most memorable villains, the spot beside Ralph Feinnes' SS leader in Schindler's List should go to Skarsgård's anguished Viking berserker."  ...Minneapolis Star Tribune

"What a grand force of nature is Stellan Skårsgard, who came to international acclaim as the husband in Breaking the Waves. A big, husky man, Skårsgard, in the Lars von Trier film, expressed a lusty, uninhibited sweetness soured by tragedy. Now in Norwegian filmmaker Hans Petter Moland's compelling Zero Kelvin, Skårsgard is again earthy and robust, but from the outset his Randbaek is a brutal, caustic man suffering from some terrible secret torment...What the film accomplishes so admirably is to make these men so individual and their conflict so fresh that we're kept involved from start to finish by a seamless blend of crisp, brisk writing, direction and acting."   ...LA Times

"The always reliable Stellan Skarsgård has never been more intense as the fearsome trapper, who despises - yet depends upon - the younger man in his charge."   ...Boston Globe

"The dominant figure is the sullen and vicious Randbaek... subtly and movingly played by Skarsgård... It is a film of measured pace, of studied silences, but few longueurs: a mature and striking achievement."   ...The Weekend Australian

"Larsen travels to Greenland, where he's confronted with the dual harshness of the elements and his profane station-captain, played with brilliant malevolence by the great Stellan Skarsgård... Beautifully paced and gorgeously shot, the overwhelming presence of natural cold, desolation and cruelty in Zero Kelvin ideally offsets the hellbound spiral of peacemaking and betrayal, and helps make this film a truly great psychological thriller"  ...Onion A.V. Club

A virtually unrecognizable Stellan Skarsgård creates a compelling three-dimensional character who cares little for the rules of civilization. His words towards Henrik are vicious, but they also contain degrees of truth that he can't deny. Over the past few years, Skarsgård has shown an ability to play an amazing variety of character types, including Good Will Hunting's frustrated math teacher, Timecode's alcoholic movie producer, Ronin's double-crossing mercenary, and Amistad's compassionate abolitionist. Randbaek is one of his best performances due to the difficulty in generating any sympathy for his actions."    ...Digitally Obsessed

"Norway's Hans Petter Moland has directed a spare and eerily beautiful exploration of human nature at its rawest... Stellan Skarsgård, of Breaking the Waves, stars as a trapper who's also a brutal pragmatist, a man whose survival skills are close to instinctual. He quickly finds himself at odds with the writer, who upholds himself as a champion of civilized values. Moland creates high tension as the men jockey for position within the confined space of their primitive cabin. The landscape - which might as well be another planet - adds haunting strangeness to this probing and, ultimately, bone-chilling inquiry."   ...Denver Rocky Mountain News

Impressive as Bess's husband in Breaking the Waves, Stellan Skarsgård triumphs again as a demented, ruffian seaman, Randbaek, in the potent Norwegian psychological thriller, Zero Kelvin.   ...Boston Phoenix

"Backed by an exceptional performance by Stellan Skarsgård, this film provides adventure while straying from the typical action formula."   ...Final Comments

"Skarsgård seizes the screen in a performance that is both tragic and terrifying, and gives us one of contemporary cinema's most memorable characters, a Viking for and from the age of Freud."    ...Cinematheque (Ontario)

"The performances are strong, the cinematography excellent, and for a boxed-in drama, the movie has plenty of outdoors beauty."   ...Newark Star-Ledger

"Moland fills his palette with grandiose long shots, dozens of them, which serve to imprint on the audience just how desperate the trappers' situation is. It's an awe-inspiring, terrible sense of isolation and spiritual malaise that Zero Kelvin manages to inspire...  ...tension like this should be savored, racheting up the frissons to the freezing point."  ...Austin Chronicle

"Stellan Skarsgård as the supervisor shows a resigned self-contempt of the more violent kind and together with the rest of the cast he creates dramatic art of great dimensions."  ...Northern Lights

"The punishing environment and performances deliver unique thrills that linger long in the memory."   ...Aro Video (NZ)

"Gard Eisvold is a youngman in twenties Norway, a budding poet, who accepts a trapping job in the desolate and icy coast of Eastern Greenland. Skarsgård plays the role of an experienced but foul mouthed trapper, with whom Eisvold ends up staying. The film capture the loneliness and the hardships men encounter in that icy wasteland, which reflect on their behaviour and lives. Skarsgård is unrecognizable, he is the arrogant, unhygenic lumbering form of a man, for whom contact with other human beings is as difficult as it is for a Big Foot or Yeti. The film could be considered as an excellent study of human nature in the very hostile of climates."   ...Drummers Diaries (UK)

"An extraordinarily intense, superbly photographed and well-acted three-handed drama set on the Greenland coast in 1925, in which a naïve poet and two rougher-hewn fur-trappers battle for the psychological upper hand in an isolated, ice-bound cabin. Cruel and soul-baring..."     ...British Film Institute

"The ensemble cast includes some of Scandanvia's top stars and a tour-de-force performance by the great Stellan Skarsgård...  A psychological thriller set in the context of a tense story of survival, Hans Petter Moland's Zero Kelvin is the rare exception to the genre - a thinking person's adventure film. "   ...Kino Video

"Zero Kelvin is a thriller based on a '20s novel - Larsen by Danish author Peter Tutein - and rarely has a title been more apt. It is a chilling tale of how thin the layer of civilization that coats us is."   ...Eye Weekly

"Moland is particularly adept and assembling, perfectly managing, and directing exceptional actors. Skarsgård is more than first rate as the menacing, moody, sociopathic, and vicious Randbaek. This is certainly a departure from some of Skarsgård's more well-known characters, and this role demonstrates his range and amazing abilities to present a multitude of characters in vastly different circumstances."   ...Anonymous