Oslo, 1932. Espen Arnakke, an up and coming Danish born writer who only writes non-fiction, is constantly butting heads with book critic Johan Hoeg, who has not been impressed by anything ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Espen Arnakke (as Nikolaj Coster Waldau)
John Wakefield
Bjørn Floberg ...
Johan Hoeg
Knut Husebø ...
Cafe Guest
Espen Haavardsholm ...
Cafe Guest
Anne Krigsvoll ...
Cafe Guest
John Sigurd Kristensen ...
Cafe Guest
Jeanne Bøe ...
Cafe Guest (as Jeanne Bøe Larsen)
Tonja Sitara Sanborn ...
Cafe Guest
Sven Henriksen ...
Head Waiter
Sturla Berg-Johansen ...
Waiter (as Sturla Berg Johansen)
Stig Hoffmeyer ...
Wilhelm Arnakke
Else Qualmann ...
Amaila Arnakke
Henrik Sloth ...


Oslo, 1932. Espen Arnakke, an up and coming Danish born writer who only writes non-fiction, is constantly butting heads with book critic Johan Hoeg, who has not been impressed by anything about Espen since his arrival onto the literary scene in Norway. Upon reflection, Espen realizes that there is some truth to Johan's words, regardless of his arrogant tone, based on Espen perhaps not being true to himself in what he is writing. As such, he decides to give his in-progress memoirs to the one person who he truly does want to impress, Johan's girlfriend Jenny, to read. Those memoirs largely detail him trying to escape from his life: escaping from his small town Danish upbringing where he was expected, as was every other male, to work at the town's ironworks, instead of his want to pursue some sort of schooling; and escaping from the sadistic captain and crew on the Newfoundland bound merchant ship he boarded in escaping from Denmark. He ended up in the fishing town of Misery Harbour, ... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

3 September 1999 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Flugten fra Jante  »

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User Reviews

"Abridged and at times riveting..."
19 September 2012 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

Sámi-Norwegian screenwriter and director Nils Gaup's fifth feature film which was written by Norwegian producer, cinematographer and director Sigve Endresen and screenwriter and actor Kenny Sanders, is based on the novel "A Sailor Goes Ashore" from 1931 by 20th century Danish-Norwegian author and Norwegian resistance member Aksel Sandemose (1899-1965) and inspired by a biography from 1988 called "The Man From Jante" by Norwegian author Espen Haavardsholm. It premiered at the 25th Haugesund International Film Festival in 1999, was screened in the Official competition section at the 23rd Montreal World Film Festival in 1999 and is a Norway-Denmark-Sweden-Canada co-production which was shot on location in Newfoundland and Labrador, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, produced by Sigve Endresen and co-produced by Ulrik Bolt Jørgensen, Ken Pittman and Claes-Göran Lillieborg. It tells the story about Espen Arnakke, a young man who lives with his father, mother, younger sister and elder brother in a small coastal Danish town called Jante in Denmark. Espen is terrified of ending up at the local factory and he is interested in a girl named Rose, but after being forced by his father to begin working at the factory, Espen escapes from Jante by boarding a schooner and becoming a deck hand. On-board the sailing ship he meets an Irishman named John Wakefield who gets him involved in illegal activities. Espen regards John as his friend, but after being subjected and punished by the sadistic captain for his dealings with John he learns that no one there is his friend, and as the crew reaches the Deadman's point in Newfoundland, Espen decides to risk his life by going overboard.

Finely and engagingly directed by Sámi-Norwegian filmmaker Nils Gaup, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated by and from the protagonist's point of view, draws a moving portrayal of a sailor, lumberjack and aspiring writer's troubling relationship with women due to his upbringing which has made him suppress his emotions and his sexuality, and his rivalling relationship with an Irishman. While notable for it's naturalistic and atmospheric rural milieu depictions, fine production design by Icelandic production designer and costume designer Karl Júliusson, cinematography by Norwegian cinematographer Erling Thurmann-Anderson (1945-2002) and costume design by Danish costume designer Lotte Dandanell, this character-driven story about an angst-plagued man's crucial journey depicts a dense study of character and contains a great score by Danish composer Joachim Holbek.

This somewhat romantic, at times humorous and literary drama from the late 1990s which is set against the backdrop of the easternmost province of Canada during the colder seasons in the late 1920s, is impelled and reinforced by it's subtle character development, cogent narrative structure, esoteric characters and the fine acting performances by Danish actor Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau, Norwegian actress Anneke von der Lippe and Northern Irish actor Stuart Graham. An abridged and at times riveting mystery.

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