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Why are you living this particular life?

About filming – just to discover that nothing is changing.


Life is a discovery, neither more nor less. As the years go by, you notice the repetitions. And that what was yesterday is what it is today. For what you started with is also what you end up with.

There is always a quest facing yourself, against the forces you both fear and love. These forces are yourself – the ones you have not yet reached.

Thoughts go while I'm on my way to a reading test on my first attempt at making a broad film – at least a wider one. The hope is to reach those who have reached thirty and, well, so with humor. The comedy Berith must be shot soon; a kind of mix of Woody Allen, Eric Rohmer and my own brand needs in Norwegian. The goal is to create existentialist humor in Norwegian.

Terje Paasche, the man who has a record in participation in film productions in Norway, sits on the chair next to me. He edited some of the first trash films I did and is my cinematographic teacher. He is involved, although he is desperate that I always make the same mistakes as a director, in film after film. And Kjetil Skrede also sits there, in the train compartment, the beautiful pimp of my other feature film The immoral, also a part of our time. The five hundred people watched cinema in Norway, even though it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.

And that's what makes me think. Not the film's downright fate, but these two on the neighboring sites; that the ones I started with are the ones I come back to.

In the deepest sense that's right, it's one of the characters in Frank Mosvold's glittering short film The waves says: "Nothing changes," although the comrade, played by celebrity Stian Barsnes Simonsen, says: "Well then, everything changes."

On the reading test, in a completely worn-out villa on Nordstrand in Oslo, in a room with murals similar to those Henrik Sørensen covered the City Hall with, the same others are present: recording director and director, Unn Lilleaas and Hanne Bache Hansen – she could , if she had the strength, become the Wenche Foss of our time. And now the script will be trawled through for motifs and subtitles. Then it is good to remember old reading lessons.

Over a few years, in the 1980s and '90s, I went on to teach as an assistant director at Oslo Nye Teater. The then aging stage director Alexandra Myskova was the only one of the directors I assisted who took the time to explain to a young man the hidden codes behind the instructional technique. In 1990 she set up Oscar Wildes The Importance of Being Earnest. Myskova was concerned that all theater scenes – and then, of course, all dramatic text – have one heading and two narrative levels: one heading / one theme – for example, "Earnest is lying". Secondly, an outside act / what he does in the scene where he lies – "is at tea with his aunt" and so on. And then a subtitle – "He's lying because of that and that". Aids that tell the director what the actual scene is really about – and that I use in this beautiful, painted room in the old villa.

We read and analyze the comic text in which my dear producer does not see the humor, but he is with him, too, again and again.

A few weeks later the recording is in progress. Hege Åsvang, the beauty who plays the lead role Berith, and which many have probably seen Beatles, rushing abruptly through Bygdøy avenue with their heavy plastic bags. Berith is adhd, neurotic, shopping too much, cooking too much food. She prays to God in the bathroom to get a man, throws up, makes even more food. And God hears her – coincidentally, in Professor Dahl's gate, where the street ends to the west edge square, she rediscovers the great love of her life: the professor of literature studies Hans Christian Torben Vang, the author of pathetic Chestnut rain, published at Theory Forlag. A publisher name I laugh and laugh at, and proud to have come up with. Hans Christian, the university teacher she was with for 42 days as a young French-style student, smells beautiful when everyone at Blindern wanted her. But unfortunately for the professor, she was only the brunette of the semester. And he doesn't remember her. Here it is toned for struggle, love struggle.

The idea comes from Eric Rohmer's cheerful youth care The pilot's wife, where a young man loves a woman he doesn't get. Another woman still wants the young man, but he doesn't get her because he sees her too late.

In Berith, the young man has been replaced by a middle-aged woman – otherwise nothing is the same.

Rohmer's films have bored me before. But now I have "evolved", and love the everyday scenarios, camera on tripod, bright lighting and people talking. And talking. Rohmer is too advanced – and obviously I am myself.

Movie recording is 95 percent logistics and 5 percent art.

Think, once at the time, film was art. A place where you recognized yourself and the world. I envy the filmmakers who lived in the 1950s, -60s, -70s and -80s. And why? Because they had an audience; because a middle class on the rise towards taking power in all modern societies had a need to understand themselves.

Now that the middle class understands itself extremely well, and lacks in wealth and consumption and defining power, it is no longer interesting in real-life stories. Now it is evil criminals in the outer zones and fantasy characters that make the middle class go to the cinema.

Reader! Why are you living this particular life? Why don't you change anymore, why are you standing against the same mountain? When I ask, it's because I'm forever in the same thought path during recording. When I get up in the morning, during breaks, sometimes in the middle of a scene recording: Why am I doing this? This is my fourteenth movie, what have I achieved? Why am I here? Film is a bloodstain, and miles away from all the romance and red runners and flashlights. And this is my thirteenth movie, and I have not yet become neither rich, unparalleled happy nor a great artist, just a petite one on the outskirts of the world. On a semi-chaotic movie set with mesmerizing and impatient actors, people asking if they should use the blue or green sweater. About why we do it this way and not it? Whether we are ready for the scheduled time because they are going to pick up the kid in kindergarten. Questions I have virtually no answer to. Well, why am I here? After all, I didn't want to be one of those semi-disruptive artist souls who drink and drive a taxi, just alternated with ever-diminishing inspiration and growing nerve disorders. The ones I saw as a young man at Club 7, all of whom ended up as uneducated and lonely characters on small, rented apartments at Bislett or St. Hanshaugen. I didn't want that at all. So the answer is then: I'm an artist because I've always been; I had no choice. I would not, because I must have thought that would mean what Jens Bjørneboe said it was: "The price for this to follow one's own will is eternal uncertainty, but it is the price of spiritual freedom."

And the eternal uncertainty, what is it? You hover between the planets. And there is no one else there. And you become more and more alone in the world.

One night, after the recordings, I begin to laugh: "Everything is as it always has been." Too little time and too little money. I have again made one of the old mistakes. This time, I've been trying to film too much in too little time. My film teacher Paasche is right again! We have been to the beautiful and to many unknown park which is so secretly located at Vestkanttorget, Langaardsløkka. Here the wealthy tobacco producer family lived, the pompous villa still stands. Although I moved three of the office scenes – Berith works in the office – and for the sake of time made them "out-of-the-park talk scenes", we were not able to film scene 57. So what then? Should the scene that was supposed to be recorded in an office, which then became a park scene, now be turned into a "talk-on-the-street scene" since we are filming on the street tomorrow? Or should I just iron it out, like scenes 10 and 39? Movie recording is 95 logistics and 5 percent art. There is no connection between the emotions that flow from the canvas and the mood of the set. Where a good movie is an adventure, the shooting situation is total realism. "You don't get more out of the recordings than you brought in," Werner Herzog said.

To the extreme. The obviously biggest regal talent in Norway after the war, Frank Mosvold, as I have already mentioned, says that being a director on a film set is like being the captain of a sinking ship. He didn't just do the short film The waves, but also wonderful The kiss that made the snow melt – a total masterpiece purchased by the Pompidou Museum in Paris, but forgotten here.

Everything and everyone interferes: Something is wrong with the camera. It is raining when it should be sunny. An outrigger sits in the middle of the picture. A trailer destroys a beautiful, romantic dialogue.

Then also being on set, as a director, is a need to push oneself to the extreme, because you are forced to be in one with your innermost being, who you really are, but who you can not reach otherwise, because of all these compromises and reservations a functioning life requires. Top athletes, innovative capitalists and scientists, extreme athletes and film directors have this in common.

When it is pause in recording, I try to enjoy myself with the food, but it is impossible. The head is in the next scene we will be filming. Are we going through it today? Do I have to place it in another setting? Do we manage to film seven to eight screenplays in one day when the norm on a film set is one to two? The questions never end, they either. Life is a discovery of increasingly floating answers.

Jacobsen returns with part two later this fall.
Krutzkoff Jacobsen has recently been employed as a short film consultant at NFI.

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