The controversial Norwegian Nobel Laureate Knut Hamsun (1859-1952) is a hot media property in Scandinavia these days. Hamsun, who was convicted after World War II for Nazi sympathies, is currently the subject of two feature film projects, while the fourth screen version of his novel, “Pan,” will open shortly.
“Two Green Feathers” (the latest version of “Pan”) will be helmed by Danish director Henning Carlsen. The NOK 20 million ($3.8 million) Northern Lights production stars Lasse Kolsrud and Sofie Grabol.
“It is considered one of the great love stories in world literature, which is strange since there are probably 10-12 pages of love, and the rest is genuine hatred,” said Carlsen. The Danish director filmed another Hamsun novel, “Hunger,” in 1965 to win Swedish actor Per Oscarsson a Golden Palm at Cannes.
Northern Lights’ Axel Helgeland will co-produce “Enigma: The Life of Knut Hamsun,” a $6 million TV miniseries and feature production which begins in June for Norwegian pubcaster NRK. The project is adapted from British literary historian Robert Ferguson’s bio of Hamsun called “Enigma” and marks the screen debut of Bentein Baardson, a Norwegian stage actor.
After several years of preparation, Denmark’s Nordisk Film is readying “Knut and Marie,” a $7 million feature based on Danish author Thorkild Hansen’s “The Trial of Knut Hamsun.” Directed by Sweden’s Jan Troell, the film will star Max von Sydow and Ghita Norby. Sweden’s Svensk Filmindustri and Norway’s Yellow Cottage are other co-partners in the production, which begins principal photography late April in Norway.
Hamsun’s popularity was at its peak in the 1920s and 1930s, after such novels as “Hunger,” “Mysteries,” “Pan” and “Viktoria.” After the war, with – allegedly – permanently impaired mental faculties, he was sentenced to pay a ruinous sum to the government for his pro-German attitude.