Remarkable or confusing - a play with film and narration
Remonstrance, or in Norwegian, Motforestilling, is like nothing you've seen before when it comes to narration. (In French: Objection.) This film will challenge you as much as it challenges the way a film is supposed to be told story-wise.
So therefore - this ambivalent meta-film is not for everyone, but clearly is is pure gold for those studying film in all ways. This is a film which plays you mind, and is supposed to do so, actually wanting you to make the plot. A viewers version of The trial by Kafka?
If this had come out anywhere else than Norway, it would have been a landmark for film artists. Now everyone have to discover it. The director, Erik Løchen, hated to tell how this story was to be understood. He wanted you to take part in both adding your own meaning, as well as being your own man and not a part of something decided. It's life as it is, according to the director. A travel where you might find different solutions along the way.
What's it about? Well, you better decide yourself. As the matter of fact we go in and out of what might be real opposed to fantasy. It might be a film or true life, or the filming of both? It might be political or not. It might be documentary or it might be fiction. It might be serious, or it might be a joke. It might be true or false. Well, the story is impossible to give a synopsis of. You might say this "story" is told on several levels; a film set, scenes from this film, a spare time set, a political set and a love story.
But in addition to this, you also have a heavy political influence as well as a heavy part of this is a political hunt or spy-story, also even with a big portion of humor! We even have a part where we're told what's happening, in a dialog with you, just as in the well renown first movie from director Erik Løchen from 1959, The Chase (Norwegian: Jakten). Well, there you are!
You'll have to bear in mind this is made during the cold war, and in a European country having to decide between becoming a member of the EEC (Now "EU") or not. (Norway never has become a member.) Norway also had a big discussion about NATO membership, in the years after radicalization in the 60ies, as well as seeing the fight in the cold war, and the coming threats of a growing China.
When released in 1972 this film challenged the classic way of telling a drama. The film consist of five acts, which originally was released as A-B-C-D-E, but upon release in 1980 is told E-B-A-C-D. (On the DVD release, made by the Norwegian Film Institute you can watch both version, as well as make your own order of of these five, making 120 different possible versions!)
I think the 1980-version functions way better in making us interested in the story, though it will spill most of the beans this way, and recommend you to see it this way. It's not coincidental it was shown this way eight years after, when the director traveled around showing it this way.
Not anyones cup of tea, and if you just like the idea, but still hate to see a film which is not clearly telling you what is happening, this is likely to annoy or bore you. If you want to play along, and watch something completely challenging and different, then this is the film for you.
Why is this not a 10? Well, I think the actors has problems with the acting, and it might give us an older impression than it is. Some will think it's very modern. And it is supposed to be opposing, isn't it?
Erik Løchens only two films are classics, and Joachim Trier (Reprise and Oslo August 31st) is his grand child (mothers father), and he thinks the original version A-B-C-D-E is the best.
Only a small part of this film is in color, most is in black and white.
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