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Hunger (1966) (Ws Sub B&W) (Sous-titres franšais) [Import]

Per Oscarsson , Gunnel Lindblom , Henning Carlsen    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To Suffer for One's Art July 26 2002
Format:VHS Tape
An intriguing character study that focuses on a few days in the life of a writer in 1890 Christiania, "Hunger," directed by Henning Carlsen, stars Per Oscarsson as Pontus, a starving artist seeking more than just the sustenance of food. Though living in the middle of town, he is emotionally isolated, cut off from the real world because of a perpetual state of disorientation that makes connecting with any reality beyond that which exists in his own mind impossible. Psychological, as well as physical hunger induces the erratic, irrational behavior he exhibits, often at the most inopportune times. Working sporadically on an article throughout the day, the bulk of his time is spent dreaming-- at times hallucinating-- and simply struggling for survival. Yet his suffering is seemingly by choice; there are indications throughout the film that leaving the city to go back to the country, and apparently his home, is an option that is open to him. One he rejects, however, out-of-hand. And while he longs for nourishment of soul and body, because of his mental state and his inability to negotiate even the simplest social amenities, his needs remain elusive, just out of reach. Pontus fails to recognize that the pride and ego that may have at one time sparked the flint of his artistry have now become detrimental, not only to his work, but to his very existence.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 minutes in Swedish with subtitles Jan. 9 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This unforgettable film version of Knut Hamsun's great novel won the Best Actor award at Cannes. The story is told with revolutionary, disruptive movements from reality to myth as a young, talented writer wanders through an unidentified Scandinavian city during an autumn day in the late 1890s. Unable to sell any of his writings, he is reduced to a physical and moral state of abject suffering and near-madness [yet] somehow retains his sense of humor, intelligence, and a smattering of self-righteous dignity. Every contact with humanity emphasizes the writer's solitude and his gradual acceptance of life as a dream voyage. Per Oscarsson's portrait of despair and hallucinatory exaltation goes far beyond the boundaries of verisimilitude; it is known that he actually lived the role before shooting began, and what one beholds is the gaunt face of one artist dramatizing the plight of all artists who cry out for recognition, with only the symbol of their work to nourish their bodies and unfaltering spirit: it is one of the great film performances of all time.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 minutes in Swedish with subtitles Jan. 9 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
This unforgettable film version of Knut Hamsun's great novel won the Best Actor award at Cannes. The story is told with revolutionary, disruptive movements from reality to myth as a young, talented writer wanders through an unidentified Scandinavian city during an autumn day in the late 1890s. Unable to sell any of his writings, he is reduced to a physical and moral state of abject suffering and near-madness [yet] somehow retains his sense of humor, intelligence, and a smattering of self-righteous dignity. Every contact with humanity emphasizes the writer's solitude and his gradual acceptance of life as a dream voyage. Per Oscarsson's portrait of despair and hallucinatory exaltation goes far beyond the boundaries of verisimilitude; it is known that he actually lived the role before shooting began, and what one beholds is the gaunt face of one artist dramatizing the plight of all artists who cry out for recognition, with only the symbol of their work to nourish their bodies and unfaltering spirit: it is one of the great film performances of all time.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime June 2 2007
By Kirk Alex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Talented Writer/Director Henning Carlsen does excellent work here, as does actor Per Oscarsson in lead
role.
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.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film about a Great Book Dec 15 2004
By Oslo Jargo/Bartok Kinski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
This, difficult to find film, merits close examination under the eyes of any reader of modernist literature. Written by Knut Hamsun and based entirely on his experiences of suffering, moral degradation, starvation and humiliation at the hands of the bourgeoisie of Oslo (Kristiana) whose petty values were mired in mockery, snobbish attitudes and haughtiness, truly explores the conscious soul of a writer. The director uses subtle techniques to introduce us to the Oslo of Hamsun's time, replete with arrogant shop owners, horse carriages and stupid followers of the Christian religion. For most of the film, the lead actor, played wonderfully by Per Oscarsson, who is still alive and making films at the age of 77, suffers starvation and yet he is truly determined to live his miserable existence. A gorgeous piece of art and redeemable film whose magnetic images are still important today.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Feb. 12 2008
By lexo1941 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Knut Hamsun's 1890 novel 'Hunger' is not, on the face of it, a promising candidate to be made into a masterpiece of world cinema film. For a start, it's a really good book, and books this good tend to become bad movies. The narrator, a down-at-heel intellectual and would-be genius, is scuffling around Christiania (now known as Oslo) in search of a lot of things, but mostly greatness, food, money and company, in descending order of importance. However, his pride is so enormous that he can't bear to accept charity from anyone, and so his acute physical hunger soon becomes his main sensation. It's the kind of novel that sensitive literary young men with no money always reckon they have in them somewhere, but which when written usually turns out to be a self-indulgent mess. Hamsun, practically alone among the species, got it right. The book is written with an extraordinary mixture of deep sympathy for its infuriating narrator, but also ironic objectivity about his capacity to be his own worst enemy.

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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Hunger for life. May 2 2010
By vs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This 1966 film is based on Knut Hamsun's 1890 novel with the same title; the director, Henning Carlsen, is still making movies in 2010. I haven't known his name before I watched "Hunger", now I'm planning to see his other movies, because this film is amazingly good. It's one of those very rare exceptions when the movie is comparable in quality to the book it's based upon, even though Hamsun's novel deservedly belongs to classics.

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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