Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Man Who Loved Yngve

Just got back from my weekly visit to Scandinavia House for their film series (I take myself every Saturday) having seen what was one of the best movies I have seen in ages. I doubt they will ever release this film in the States, as is what happens with most great foreign films unless they are in French. But if you find a way to make it happen, I highly recommend checking out The Man Who Loved Yngve. It actually reminded me a lot of one of my favorite Scandinavian films ever, Fucking Åmål, Lukas Moodyson's film from a decade earlier, sharing many themes and a style that shifts seamlessly between comedy and drama. Synopsis from the Nordic Film Institute:

The third most successful Norwegian film of 2008 (171,000 admissions as of July 2008), The Man Who Loved Yngve is based on Tore Renberg's novel of the same name which sold over 100,000 copies in Norway. Producer Yngve Sæther, a personal friend to Renberg, immediately saw the potential for a film version and convinced the novelist to tackle the screen adaptation.

What attracted Sæther to the project was the opportunity to make a coming of age film ‘with a real authenticity, a film that would have a mature feel and at the same time the energy of the youth, like Truffaut's Les 400 coups, or Coppola's Rumble Fish. "It took Renberg another three to four years to make the script work for the screen.

The Man Who Loves Yngve is set in November 1989. The Berlin wall collapses. In Stavanger town, Jarle Klepp (17) has no idea that everything is about to change. So far he has got everything; the best girlfriend in the world, and the world's coolest buddy. Together they will soon launch Stavanger's toughest punk band, "Mattias Rust Band". But then the new boy in class, Yngve, appears. He is not like anyone else, and Jarle is confused. Slowly but steadily Jarle lets everyone around him down, and finds out what it means to stand alone.

Film debutant Kristiansen, originally from Stavanger like Renberg, and a big music fan, was brought on board, although he hadn't finished his studies at the National Film School in Lillehammer. But Sæther and Renberg were convinced by the energy of his short films. Finding the right actors aged 18-19, especially new faces, was another major challenge and casting in the Stavanger area lasted several months. "We did find those actors at the end," notes Sæther. "That's why the film works."

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