|Directed by||Jan Troell|
|Produced by||Erik Crone|
Per Olov Enquist
Marie Hamsun (autobiography)
|Starring||Max von Sydow
19 April 1996
26 April 1996
26 April 1996
6 August 1997
Hamsun is a 1996 Danish-Swedish-Norwegian-German drama directed by Jan Troell, about the later life of the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun (Max von Sydow), who together with his wife Marie Hamsun (Ghita Nørby), went from being national saints to national traitors after supporting Nazi Germany during their occupation of Norway during World War II.
The film is notable for its use of language. Sydow and Nørby speak in their native Swedish and Danish respectively, though there is a scene where he speaks English and several where she speaks German; the rest of the cast speak Norwegian or German.
- Max von Sydow as Knut Hamsun
- Ghita Nørby as Marie Hamsun
- Anette Hoff as Ellinor Hamsun
- Gard B. Eidsvold as Arild Hamsun
- Eindride Eidsvold as Tore Hamsun
- Åsa Söderling as Cecilia Hamsun
- Sverre Anker Ousdal as Vidkun Quisling
- Erik Hivju as Dr. Gabriel Langfeldt
- Edgar Selge as Josef Terboven
- Ernst Jacobi as Adolf Hitler
- Svein Erik Brodal as Holmboe
- Per Jansen as Harald Grieg
- Jesper Christensen as Otto Dietrich
- Johannes Joner as Finn Christensen
- Finn Schau - Doctor
The plans for the film have a history from 1979, when Thorkild Hansen, the author of the book Processen mod Hamsun contacted Troell, wanting him to direct a Norwegian television series based on the book. Max von Sydow was meant to do the part as Hamsun already then. But NRK dropped out on the project, believing it would be too controversial.
Fourteen years later, in 1993, von Sydow brought the project back to life when he got the Danish production company Nordisk Film interested in adapting the book, this time with Per Olov Enquist, who had written Troell's previous film Il Capitano, providing the screenplay.
The shooting took place during the spring and summer 1995, with a budget of around 40 million SEK. Noteworthy is that the most expensive scene filmed, where Marie Hamsun witnesses the attack and sinking of the German cruiser Blücher in the Oslofjord at the battle of Drøbak Sound on 9 April 1940, was cut from the finished product.
The film was initially meant to be released in the autumn 1996 at the Venice Film Festival, but was brought forward to the spring as Norwegian television would release another film about Hamsun the same year. It also saved the film from having to compete against Bille August's historical epic Jerusalem.
During the Swedish release Troell and the producer heavily criticized the distributor, Svensk Filmindustri, for the sloppy handling of the film, something he had also experienced with his previous film Il Capitano.