‘Norwave’ rolls

Country's Cannes pix point to revival

STOCKHOLM — Norway’s strong presence at this year’s Cannes may be the beginning of what the local industry is calling a “Norwave.”

The Norwegians have shipped their largest film package ever to the Croisette with four entries, including one short, in the Official Selection.

As no more than 16 features will be made in Norway this year, this is “obviously a happy surprise,” said Jan Erik Holst, head of the international department of the Norwegian Film Institute.

Jens Lien’s drama “The Bothersome Man,” about a man who enters his own after-life, will screen in Critics Week along with Norway’s first CGI animated feature, “Free Jimmy,” which took eight years to make.

With a budget of $16.5 million, helmer Christopher Nielsen’s toon is a local hit.

Pic is produced by Norwegian animation house Storm Studio and voice talent includes Woody Harrelsen, Jim Broadbent and Samantha Morton.

Helmer Stefan Faldbakken’s feature debut “Uro,” about a former delinquent who investigates drug trafficking as an undercover policeman, is selected for Un Certain Regard while Bobbie Peer’s “Sniffer” will screen in the short film competition.

According to Holst, one of the reasons for recent film successes is the Norwegian Film Fund, set up in 2001. The state-run authority’s support has resulted in more pics, younger directors and new kinds of stories, he says. Another factor is the National Film School at Lillehammer, whose first graduates have started to make a mark on Norwegian cinema.

“In the past 10 years, many local filmmakers have left the traditional, literary fixation that used to characterize Norwegian films,” he says. “Today, we see a new kind of scriptwriter who writes straight for the screen rather than adapting something from a bookshelf.”

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