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Movie Titles

Vals im Bashir - Hebrew
Nattvardsgästerna (Winter Night), 1962 - Swedish
Hamsun, 1996 - Norwegian
Kransen - Norwegian
Efter brylluppet (After the Wedding) - Danish

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Movie Reviews

Hebrew text (Vals im Bashir)
Run time: 90 minutes
Rating: R
Writer and Director: Ari Folman
Language: Hebrew and also some German, English, and Arabic
Award: Nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar

ValsimThis animated film is extremely moving as it portrays the horrors of war and focuses in particular on one horrific event. Israeli Ari Folman, the film’s writer and the director, was a soldier in 1982 and participated in the invasion of Lebanon where thousands of innocent people in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps were massacred. To his amazement, Folman realizes 20 years later that he has no memories of this event. He sets out to interview fellow veterans and creates this powerful film based on his search to recover his memory.
-Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

 

 

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Nattvardsgästerna (Winter Night), 1962
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Run Time: 81 minutes
Language: Swedish

Tomas Ericsson is the pastor of a small church in rural Sweden. He performs a religious service with few parishioners in attendance. He is suffering both physically in that he has a very bad cold and emotionally in that he is in the midst of a serious crisis of faith. One of his parishioners Karin Persson is also suffering from a crisis of faith and needs assurance from his pastor. Ericsson is unable to give it. Märta Lundberg, another parishioner, is in love with the pastor but he tells her that he is unable to love her or anyone else. It is a bleak film but beautifully filmed in a winter landscape and very moving.
- Recommended by Christine Meloni, Culture Club Editor

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hamsunHamsun, 1996
Director: Jan Troell
Run Time: 154 minutes
Language: Norwegian

Norwegian author Knut Hamsun won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920 and was much loved and admired in his country until World War II broke out. This film focuses on Hamsun’s fall from grace when he supported the Nazis after their occupation of Norway on April 9, 1940. His wife Marie, who spoke German, was in accord, and she traveled frequently to Germany during the war to show their support. Why did they side with Germany? Did they truly understand the world situation? Could they be considered traitors? Did they deserve a severe punishment? It is a sad film but it helps the viewer to understand what was going on in their minds as the war went on. This film is available from amazon.com.
- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

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Efter brylluppet (After the Wedding), 2007
Director: Susan Bier
Distributor: Soda Pictures
Run Time: 120 minutes
Languages: Danish/Swedish/Hindi/English

efter

The protagonist Jacob Peterson (played by Mads Mikkels), manages an orphanage in India which is having serious financial problems. A wealthy man in Denmark, Peterson’s native country, offers to give him a sizeable sum of money to keep the orphanage going but he wants to meet Peterson in person first. Reluctantly, Peterson leaves the orphanage and returns to Denmark. Soon after his arrival, Jorgen, his potential benefactor (played by Rolf Lassgard), takes him to a family wedding where he meets Helene, a former girlfriend (played by Sidse Babett Knudsen) who happens to be married to Jørgen. As one can imagine, the situation becomes quite complicated, and one surprise follows another. After the Wedding is a beautiful, thoughtful film and deserved its nomination for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language.
- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

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Kransen
Director: Liv Ullman 1995
Run Time: 180 minutes
Starring: Elisabeth Matheson, Bjørn Skagestad, Sverre Anker Ousdal
Germany/Norway/Sweden

This film is based on the first volume of the Kristin Lavransdatter triology by Nobel-prize winning author Sigrid Undset (see review of book in The Library). Director Ullman lovingly and painstakingly brings the historical novel to the screen. The acting is superb, the settings dramatic, nature breathtaking, and the costumes often wonderfully colorful. It is a passionate film in which the dutiful daughter Kristin and the knight Erlend fall madly in love and create havoc in the lives of many people, not least of all their own.

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