I am a 71 year old retired American librarian who lives over here in Norway for my very young Norwegian-American children. I am divorced and living alone like the principal character - a 51 year old Norwegian novelist - in the film. I now design wargames and have a very little supplemental income from that.
The film is described on its DVD cover as a comedy, apparently in the classical sense. At its start, his postman stops his rounds to have fish soup which the novelist makes well. (LOTS of excellent fish menu items here, of course, with the exception of fish pudding and lutefisk. :-/ :-) ) During the meal he sees visions of himself and his ex-wife in the adjacent living room arguing. He is still suffering from a former also-abusive marriage. He writes her into some of his novels. (Norwegians will read anything and enthuse about it, it seems.)
The novelist father is unexpectedly visited by his 19 or so daughter whom he hasn't seen for 2 years ... and her 2 pretty friends who think her strikingly homely father is attractive. ?? The girls mention that the brunette has just lost her father, and he expresses condolences. His daughter and the other blonde sleep in one room, the brunette - played by Norwegian film star of that time Tone Danielsen who, contrary to IMDb, is *not* the daughter - sleeps separately in another, and he sleeps in his own bedroom.
The girls are fascinated by his solitary life - although he has a circle of card-player friends - and how he raises chickens. His country cottage - very much like ones everywhere here - is idyllically situated on a lake or fjord, as is often the case, and he takes the girls fishing and joins them swimming. (If this was a fjord, that is more hazardous to do now, with great white sharks moving north and being sighted around here.)
We American guys have visions of blonde or at least VERY fair Scandinavian girls exercise-jogging naked through the woods every day - something which would be far too dangerous for them to do now, unhappily. (It is astonishing to see many dark-haired parents with tow-headed children at school events, although with so many foreign-born parents now, that is less so in the major cities.)
The film was made in 1965 in Scandinavia, and there was no reason at all swimming suits had to be worn in those scenes. :-)
And during one of those swimming sessions, he follows the brunette into a small inlet where she takes him by the hand and leads him up to a secluded spot ... but nothing happens.
Coincidentally, there are 3 young Norwegian guys out on a fast sailboat who notice the girls and ask them aboard. The brunette demurs but is encouraged by the novelist. The 3 guys visit the house, and the novelist's daughter - clearly unhappy - goes off into the secluded spot and suddenly amorously attacks the young Don Juan sailboat owner. Her father is suspicious, and the brunette laughs at him ... seductively.
Meanwhile, the novelist's ex-wife coincidentally shows up in the local village staying at the hotel. The couples later meet at the town dance hall, and the novelist dances with the girls ... finally slow-dancing with the brunette. The ex-wife is there, flirts with a couple local men, is getting drunk, and tries to get their daughter to pair up with one of the men, which naturally repulses the daughter. The novelist doesn't go back to the dance hall on a later - the last - night.
The brunette misses the novelist and comes back to the house where they embrace and kiss - he is now ready to consummate matters - but then she up and runs away, back to the dance. She is shown packing later.
He still has high hopes and sits at the table in his bedroom with a candle lighted and falls asleep. After some time - the candle is down - the door handle moves, and the (clothed) brunette starts to venture into his room, only to see him asleep, think better of it, and leave.
This storyline would have social approval: a beautiful and hot young girl - LOTS of those in Norway! - who has just lost her father is attracted to a lonely divorced man her father's age. However, despite the mutual attraction, fate dictates that nothing develops, and so she presumably will find a young man to marry and have a normal marriage and life.
And Norwegians do try very hard to be normal/conventional. (Some decades ago, I have been told, it was easy to get institutionalized if you weren't.) There has arisen in Scandinavia since Viking times something called janteloven - the Laws of Jante - which, from Wiki, is "a code of conduct known in Nordic countries that portrays not conforming, doing things out of the ordinary, or being overtly personally ambitious as unworthy and inappropriate."
As an American guy, I find the storyline to be completely unsatisfactory. First of all, if my daughter came to visit after such a long separation, I'd get out the family photos to share with her and her friends to relive happy memories. I'd also make sure to have some heart to heart walks and talks with her, which in the film the daughter clearly needed.
Then, when they were leaving, I'd make sure she understood she would always be welcome - especially if she now found herself in a family way - and extend that invitation to her friends ... especially the brunette ... as well.
I might mention here that his housekeeper was rather pretty and looked to be in her late 40s, and if she wasn't married or a samboer - living partner with someone - I would think he would have previously explored that possibility ... if he was at all human. (Scandinavians *are* very reserved, until they drink. I don't drink, and I'm not at all reserved. :-) )
And as for a much older man taking advantage of a younger girl, as long as they have had an honest talk about the realities ... numbers ... and she was still determined and serious ... to include children and a family, however long that - he - lasted ... well, I'm a Viking bent on conquest ... and colonization.
(When my younger daughter was born up in Trondheim, the obstetrician looked, very directly, at 63 year old me and evenly said, "Good genes." And all of us descendants of my mother's family are subjects of a longevity study - one of her sisters finally breaking 100 last year.)
It is a very intriguing film, at least - very Scandinavian, which brings me to the revealing moment/exchange in the middle of the film, which I almost forgot:
When she is talking with him and edging to becoming close to him emotionally - to entering his life - she asks him regarding the life he has, "It's enough?" And he answers, "It's enough." ... in the very Scandinavian self-denying sense ... declining her interest.
That would never be *my* answer.
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