Hunger (1966) (Ws Sub B&W) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
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Based on the classic novel by Norwegian author Knut Hamsun, Henning Carlsen's acclaimed film tells the story of a starving writer in late 19th Century Christiania (Oslo). Winner of Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. Starring Per Oscarsson and Gunnel Lindblom.
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Top Customer Reviews
Carlsen's presentation is fairly academic, and the clinical approach he takes to the material has a way of keeping the audience somewhat at arms length; it doesn't afford the emotional involvement that would've made this a memorable film. As it is, it's compelling to a point, but never manages to deliver what it seems to promise, especially early on.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Fine adaption of what may be my favorite novel of all time, Knut Hamsun's HUNGER.
Waited decades to see this. Finally, when I noticed that the DVD was available on amazon.com, I
got my copy.
Great novels don't always make great films; it's true--but this is that rarest of times when the film is actually as good (or, let's say...comes quite close.) That's high praise from me, because my belief has always been that no matter how terrific a filmed version of a fine novel is, it can never be as good as the book.
If you love Hamsun's beautifully written novel, you'll enjoy this remarkable film.
So how do you make a movie out of a story that just follows this weird, obsessive, self-absorbed egotist around a nineteenth century city? One thing you do at the start is cast Per Oscarsson. The Norwegian actor gives the performance of a lifetime as the film's main character, who unlike in the novel is given a name - Pontus. Oscarsson, painfully thin, unshaven, bespectacled, dressed in a tight, shabby suit and perpetually carrying around a bundle of his unpublished manuscripts, is riveting. He moves in quick, sharp, hesitant motions like some kind of neurotic seabird, and he keeps up a constant little mumble to himself, a running commentary on how well his day is going and what he wants to do next and what he thinks of the people around him and the city and anything else that comes into his head. Pontus is visibly going mad with hunger.
It probably sounds like a deeply depressing film, but it's not. The black comedy of Pontus' encounters with people, his absurd attempt to present himself as a more successful and satisfied person than he really is, are what make this film so watchable. The only character in film that I could compare him to is David Thewlis' bitter lumpen-intellectual drifter Johnny in Mike Leigh's 'Naked', but Thewlis' character is more paranoid, bitter and selfish, sponging off everyone around him, while Pontus not only refuses to accept the slightest gesture of charity from anyone, he also refuses to feel sorry for himself. Ultimately, there's something weirdly noble about him.
It's a great performance in a great, haunting film, warmer than Bresson or Bergman and funnier than either.
Per Oscarsson's and Gunnel Lindblom's amazing performance as two main characters in this film deserves highest recognition too, even though some credit in this case also due to the director, who brought them together in the film, as well as the many other excellent actors, be it in the secondary roles or extras.
Each and every scene in this film can be put on a poster - so beautiful it is graphically. Carlsen has perfect vision, aesthetically impeccable. His taste never fails him. It's very interesting to see, in particular, how the sexual encounter between two main characters is shown. One cannot ignore the fact that very modest scenes are much more human and natural and erotic here than whatever is produced in the Hollywood nowadays.
Hamsun was one of the first existentialist writers. The flim, created by Carlsen, is bigger than any particular genre of style or philosophical paradigm. It's about life itself, in all its complexity, and ugliness, and beauty. "Hunger" is one of the best movies I've ever seen.
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