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Ellen Dorrit Petersen,
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Trond Espen Seim,
Jan Gunnar Røise,
Evy Kasseth Røsten
Anders is a recovering drug addict in an Oslo rehab clinic. On 30 August, he is given a day's leave to attend a job interview in the city center. After visiting his friend Thomas, he proceeds to his appointment. In the interview, he admits to being a drug addict and storms out. He then wanders the streets of Oslo for the rest of the day and night, meeting, and sometimes confronting, people from his past. The film ends the next day, 31 August. Focusing on the decisions Anders has made with his time off. Written by
The most hard-hitting and resonant film I've seen in a long time, Oslo August 31st sets itself up with serene, fuzzy home footage and tales of blissful memories spent in the titular city of Oslo only to cut to the bleak life of Anders, a former heroin addict on his first day of life out of rehab. Searching for a meaning and a purpose in this new life he finds little in his friends' bourgeois city routines, which he neither desires nor feels he could achieve anyway, and their claims that "it'll all get better" fail to move a mind constantly probing and analysing the reality of his situation.
He soon undergoes an intense conversation in a park overlooking the city with his closest friend, wherein Anders pours out his thoughts of the time the two have spent apart, and the precision of their rapport matched with the lead's acting make the whole scene feel horribly real.
Anders wanders the often-empty city like a ghost, sitting in a café surrounded by the hollow dreams of others ("Plant a tree. Swim with dolphins. Write a great novel") and dwelling on the weight of his own existence. In two minds whether to leave the city, increasingly desperate and always beautifully shot, we follow him through the night until sunrise, when Anders appears to us in a sequence at his most unpredictable.
Undeniably disturbing, yet intimate and tender, this is a film that already feels close to my heart, one unafraid to bring up difficult questions and brilliantly able to provoke an idea of the absurdity of it all.
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