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Hunger ( ), is a 1966 black-and-white drama film directed by Denmark'smarker Henning Carlsen, starring Swedishmarker actor Per Oscarsson, and based upon the novel Hunger by Norwegianmarker Nobel Prize-winning author Knut Hamsun. Filmed on location in Oslo, it was the first movie produced as a cooperative effort among the three Scandinavian countries.

The film was nominated for the Palme D'Or and won the Bodil Award for Best Danish Film in 1967. For his leading role, Oscarsson won Best Actor awards at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival, 1967 Bodil Awards and the USA's National Society of Film Critics award for best actor in 1968.

With its stark focus on a life of poverty and desperation, the film is considered a masterpiece of social realism. Film historians suggest it is the first Danish film to gain serious international attention since the work of Carl Theodor Dreyer. It is one of the ten films listed in Denmark's cultural canon by the Danish Ministry of Culture.

Plot

In 1890 Christiania (Oslo), an impoverished and lonely writer named Pontus (Per Oscarsson) comes to the city from the country. We meet him standing on a bridge, overlooking running water, writing but clearly starving. He visits a pawnbroker several times, successfully selling his waistcoat for a few cents, which he then gives to a beggar. Other money that falls into his hands he also gives away. He has written an article that a newspaper editor (Henki Kolstad) agrees to publish if he makes some corrections, but Pontus is too proud to accept an advance when offered, so he leaves elated but still hungry. He begs a bone for his dog, which he gnaws on secretly in an alley. When he is unable to pay his rent, the landlady (Else Heiberg) tosses him out; another landlady shortly does the same. Hunger is constantly overwhelming Pontus and he drifts between hallucination and reality while struggling to survive. He suffers humiliations which lead him to the edge of insanity. He applies for an accounting job but is rejected, and fails a physical exam to be a fireman because he wears glasses. One hallucination revolves around a Ylajali (Gunnel Lindblom), a supposedly refined woman he has met on the street. Despite their mutual advances, nothing ever evolves for them. On a sudden impulse, Pontus hires on with the crew of a ship leaving the city but where he is headed, or what his intentions are, we do not know.

Cast



References

  1. Monty, Ib Sult (Hunger), International Dictionary of Film and Filmakers, 2000
  2. Nestingen, A. K., and T. G. Elkington, Transnational cinema in a global north, Wayne State University Press, 2005, p.143 ISBN 0814332439
  3. Kulturkanon, Danish Ministry of Culture, www.kulturkanon.kum.dk, retrieved February 12 2008


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