Hamsun (film)

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Hamsun poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byJan Troell
Produced byErik Crone
Written byScreenplay:
Per Olov Enquist
Jan Troell
Thorkild Hansen
Marie Hamsun (autobiography)
CinematographyJan Troell
Mischa Gavrjusjov
Release date
  • 19 April 1996 (1996-04-19) (Norway)
  • 26 April 1996 (1996-04-26) (Denmark)
  • 26 April 1996 (1996-04-26) (Sweden)
Running time
159 minutes

Hamsun is a 1996 internationally co-produced drama film 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 a national hero to a traitor after supporting Nazi Germany during their occupation of Norway during World War II.

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.

The film won the Guldbagge Awards for Best Film, Best Actor (Sydow), Best Actress (Nørby) and Best Screenplay (Enquist). The film was selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 69th Academy Awards, but was not shortlisted as a nominee.[1][2]



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.[3]


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.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  2. ^ "39 Countries Hoping for Oscar Nominations". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 13 November 1996. Archived from the original on 9 February 1999. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b Summary at Svenskfilmdatabas.se (in Swedish) Swedish Film Institute

External links[edit]