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Kristin Lavransdatter (1995)

 -  Drama  -  25 August 1995 (Norway)
4.6
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Ratings: 4.6/10 from 779 users  
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Kristin is the daughter of a prominent landowner in medieval Norway. She grows up in total harmony with the ideals of the time: strong family ties, social pride and devout Christianity. She... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Linus Aaberg
Gisken Armand ...
Ingbjørg
Berard Arnø ...
Ung Erlend
Bernhard Arnø ...
Arne Gyrdson
Peter Baden ...
Bentein som barn
Lars-Erik Berenett ...
Bjørn
Svein Erik Brodal ...
Munan Bårdsson
Joachim Calmeyer ...
Sira Eirik
...
Eline Ormsdatter
Vibeke Falk ...
Tordis
George Fant ...
Bård Petersson
Astrid Folstad ...
Groa Guttormsdotter
Gina Green ...
Young Dancer
Hilde Grythe ...
Cecilia
Paul-Ottar Haga ...
Bentein
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Storyline

Kristin is the daughter of a prominent landowner in medieval Norway. She grows up in total harmony with the ideals of the time: strong family ties, social pride and devout Christianity. She accepts the fact that her father has arranged for her to marry the son of another landowner. Kristin's beauty and purity create violent emotions around her. There are envy and attempted rape, murder and revenge. She seeks refuge from the world in a convent, awaiting the time for her marriage. Here the passion of her life strikes, the knight Erlend Nikulaussonn. He, an accomplished seducer, also falls hopelessly in love. They have to cross not only convent walls to meet, but social boundaries as well. Their love cannot be kept secret, and suddenly the innocent Kristin is the centre of a scandal. Her fiance withdraws from their engagement, her father rages, and Erlend's former mistress tries to poison her. The affair grows into a political issue, and finally some of the country's most dignified ... Written by The Norwegian Film Institute

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Drama

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25 August 1995 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Kransen  »

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Trivia

The Norwegian entry to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1996. See more »

Connections

Featured in Liv Ullmann scener fra et liv (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hugely long medieval soap lacks the popular touch
13 September 2009 | by (Eel Pie Island) – See all my reviews

A vintage novel with a "national treasure" quality about it, and a movie version of it directed by Liv Ullman, Norway's passionate prodigy: Kristen Lavransdatter has an emblematic quality, like a national-theatre production attended by royalty.

Sadly, the production does not quite live up to its own image: the star-crossed lovers more closely resemble a pedophile and his prey, or a sleazy playboy and his schoolgirl pick-up, than a knight and his lady. The wild passion at the heart of the picture would be a fizzle at a Christian am-dram camp.

The big landowner, Kristen's dad, lives in a wretched shack with a couple of nags in the yard --- and his much older wife is nursing an age-old guilt, too. Basically, this whole tale is about guilt, which is a tedious theme, especially strung out for nearly three hours, and without even a few seconds of the forbidden sex being depicted, or skin being shown, which for a Scandinavian picture is, well, bewildering.

Liv dutifully delivers her central, as-it-were feminist message: that daughters should always be allowed to shag whomever they wish, wherever, and whenever they choose, and probably at just about any age.

Kristen fancied her childhood playmate, Arne, but was betrothed to Simon. A neighbour tries to rape her, but she dings him on the head with a heavy stone, deranging him sufficiently that in a rage he kills Arne. While attending a convent in Oslo (!) she takes a fancy to His Lordship, a rake who has wrecked the lives of many a dame, and is immediately hot to jump her. Ah, but he knows a trick or two with these schoolgirl virgins, and first lets her sleep the night in his lap while he strokes her hair ---- sure! After she's had a couple of lusty romps in the hay, Kristen may be racked by guilt, but she obeys her lust like a machine, and the devil take the hindmost. She's quite tickled when Mr Moneybags licks the hymen blood off her inner thigh, but that's it for the rampant sex as far as Ms. Ullman is concerned.

Perhaps the weirdest moment in this theatrical-type movie is when Kristen watches her lover kill his other mistress of ten years, mother of six of his children, then marries him and falls adoringly into his arms in her father's bed. That's carrying Stepfordism to the Nth degree, in my opinion, and for most people in the audience, I think, rips the heroine away from normal and into the world of freaky Manson-girls.

It's nice to know that the Norwegians treasure this picture, and believe its depiction of the medieval period, but out here in the wider world this film looks dated and Sunday schoolish. Even the art direction is overrated: the scenery is fairly impressive, but sparingly delivered, and the costumes out of a theatrical hire shop, and sometimes garishly coloured.

Above all, this is a film about sexual desire and longing and rampant fulfilment, and for Kristen Lavransdatter not to depict any sexual activity at all is bordering on the perverted. This is a curiosity that is better left to the Norwegian board of education.


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