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Norwegian cinema

Norwegian cinema


The Great Christening

The first productions

As country which gained its independence from Sweden in 1905, Norway joined the cinema industry a year after – at least it’s one of the versions. However, as little is certainly known about the first film in Norwegian cinema history, the two main versions tell that Hugo Hermansen produced the very first one in either 1906 or 1908. The name is also unknown because the film is lost and few documents remain, but two possible names reveal that it could’ve been called Dangers of a Fisherman’s Life or A Drama at Sea.

During the lapse of those early days until World War II, Norwegian films were dominated by stories based on books, novels and outdoors scenarios, remarking the 30s decade, called as the Golden Age of Norwegian film with movies like The Great Christening (1931), the first spoken film.

A promising beginning

When the World War II lashed in Norway, the filming industry was subject to Nazi censorship, as in many other countries under the Third Reich. Nonetheless, this period provided organization to the Norwegian film industry by establishing the first policies, laws, directorates and a fund.

The end of the war, as in many countries, offered freedom and new fresh ideas to the cinema in Norway, and it was then when the first female director emerged. Edith Carlmar turned into a legend of the cinema industry of her country thanks to her more than 10 films during 20 years from 1959. Besides her, an innovative carpenter, Ivo Caprino, ventured into filming as well by using puppets and became one of the pioneers of Norwegian animation.

During the 50s and until the 80s, Norwegian cinema industry saw different trends and one of the most successes in its history: the only country’s Oscar Award. In 1952, in the midst of a boom of documentary films, Thor Heyerdahl became an Academy Award winner for best documentary thanks to an expedition he filmed in one of his adventures in the Pacific in late 40s.



Thor Heyerdahl


Hans Petter Moland

Looking for success

After a predominance of French style in the 60s, the 70s films dedicated mostly to social realism. Intentionally politicized and away from the idea of providing entertainment to the masses, directors like Oddvar Bull Tuhus were fond on giving their own, and sometimes crude perspective of their reality. Those years also saw the coming of feminism to the big screen with the Wives Trilogy by the pioneering female director is Anja Breien.

From the 80s to present day Norwegian cinema has looked to US aesthetics in order to gain the success enjoyed in the past after a massive loss of interest from the local public. Across these last 30 years, the subjects treated by Norwegian cinema have ranged from suspense to action to family dramas with sparks of Hollywood touches. Directors such as Hans Petter Moland director of Comrade Pedersen, Pål Sletaun and Erik Skjoldbjærg have gained international recognition and taken part in international film festivals with their films, subsequently getting to direct films in the US.

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