I Belong (2012) Poster


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The trouble of unwillingly hurtful misunderstood communication
OJT16 April 2013
Have you ever talked to persons you really have trouble communicating with?

I belong ("Som du ser meg", which really translates into "As you see me") is a funny film about a serious topic - the complexity of communication and understanding, with real female drive. The film is originally written and told, and extremely well directed by Dag Johan Haugerud. His first feature, formerly directing documentaries.

We meet some women living very different lives, and in different parts of the same apartment building in outer Oslo. A story of women which ends up hurting each other without willing to do so, told in an interesting way, by the writer Eva Cecilie, reading her audio-book "When you least expect it" on to tape in a sound studio. A brilliantly cast of female actors are making this a very interesting film, which recently won several prizes in the national critics Kanon-prize at Trondheim international Film Festival.

Lise is a nurse, which enjoys work, but are not to eager to get out of her safe working situation, but feels forced to say yes to be teaching new employees. And when she gets nervous, like when she has to correct the nurse she's training, she switches from speaking Norwegian into English. This gets her into trouble, and ruins her comfort.

Grete is translator, and an older woman, and was raped when she was 16, which forced her to change her school and name. She's come along way, but is not prepared when her self-consciousness is torn down when she meets her new publisher.

Ann-Kristin is pregnant, and visiting an aunt together with her poor and mildly difficult mother, which keeps borrowing money from her due to economically problems, and having typically mother - daughter communications. At the meeting she is offered a million of a large inheritance, complicating the conversation immensely.

Interesting premises, and it's funny how one can recognize the way the tragic understanding of communication leads to funny, insulting and hurtful situations. The film is in a way complex, with typical female communication of small and large subjects, which the brilliant cast makes a gem out of.

I enjoyed the predicaments, and the storytelling which in a funny way doesn't turn out nothing less than tragic. Very talented filmmaking and acting, with a very suitable music score. I'd like it to be longer than it was.
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"Tangible, somewhat understated and remarkably good..."
Sindre Kaspersen27 February 2013
Norwegian author, screenwriter and director Dag Johan Haugerud's feature film debut which he wrote, premiered in Norway, was screened at the 36th Gothenburg International Film Festival in 2013, was shot on locations in Oslo, Norway and is a Norwegian production which was produced by Norwegian producer Yngve Sæther. It tells the story about a writer named Eva Cecilie who is doing an audio-book recording of a book she has written about a nurse named Lise Gundersen who agrees to tutor a student named Siri, a translator named Grete Maigret who is about to meet a new editor named Anne and an international aid development worker named Ann-Kristin who is on her way with her mother Inger to meet her aunt named Astrid and her cousin named Vibeke.

Finely and precisely directed by Norwegian filmmaker Dag Johan Haugerud, this quietly paced fictional tale which is narrated by Norwegian actress Andrine Sæther and from multiple viewpoints, draws an incisive portrayal of a married woman who get's into a conflict with an apprentice, a single woman who has strong and somewhat personal opinions about the novels she reads and translates and a pregnant woman who is looking out for her mother. While notable for its naturalistic and mostly interior milieu depictions, fine production design by production designer Tuva Hølmebakk and cinematography by cinematographer Kim Hiorthøy, this dialog-driven and literary story depicts some empathic studies of character and contains a great instrumental score.

This quick-witted, conversational and very humorous drama about how people perceive one another and how this effects their communication, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, subtle character development, interrelated stories, interesting conversations, incorporation of literature in cinema and the commendable acting performances by Norwegian actresses Laila Goody, Ragnhild Hilt, Andrea Bræin Hovig, Henriette Steenstrup, Anne Marit Jacobsen, Ane Dahl Torp and Kari Onstad Winge. A tangible, somewhat understated and remarkably good character-piece where the three main characters in the narrator's book "When you least expect it" may or may not represent significant parts of the storyteller's personality.
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Failed halfway in its mission. A pity while having all the ingredients needed for a compelling product
JvH486 May 2015
Saw this at the Noordelijk film festival 2014 in Leeuwarden (NL). The synopsis (four people meaning well but all of them wind up hurting others) explains the common theme better than the movie itself. It had all the looks that the common auto ride (nearly all cars in the street had their tires punctured) was the only connection between the three stories, with the fourth actually making up a frame story while she made an audio book from her own writing containing these three stories. The discussions on itself were interesting, especially the third story when people wanted to give a million away and met some reluctance from the planned recipients, in spite of the fact that the latter could have made good use of the money.

All in all, I'm afraid I cannot concur with most positive reviews. Like the main protagonists in this movie, the film makers meant well but failed in their mission in creating a compelling product. In spite of having ample material and interesting ingredients available, they left me stuck with a "constructed" impression. Technically there is nothing wrong. Casting and acting is very good, and we can follow the respective stories smoothly. Yet I'm not satisfied with the overall product. Maybe I do not belong to the target group for this type of movie?? Nevertheless, the nearly 2 hours are not boring nor tedious, and covering 4 stories in less time would be a misdemeanor. This movie ranked rather low at 42th place (out of 64) for the audience award, yet with above average score 7.2. I myself end in limbo between 5 and 6 (out of 10).
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