With the quirky score that plays over its opening, Bent Hamer’s 1001 Grams immediately announces its predilection for cloying affectation. The story revolves around the lonely and regimented Marie Ernst (Ane Dahl Torp), a Norwegian scientist tasked with bringing a prototype that seeks to determine the actual weight of a kilo to an international seminar in Paris after her father, Ernst Ernst (Stein Winge), grows too ill to go himself. Hamer is most effective when he indulges in droll Altmanesque bits of observational humor, such a scene in which several scientists are seen falling asleep during a seminar, with the lecturer blissfully unaware of his long-windedness. The scene illustrates the writer-director’s skill as an artist of sight gags, and of visual composition in general, precisely because such scenes, more often than not, offer a brief distraction from his unsubtle dialogue. Hamer approaches serious thought with the question of whether modern science can progress with complete selflessness and without being marred by nationalistic pride, but this is undermined by his prevailing interest in Marie’s rote romance with Pi (Laurent Stocker), a warmhearted Frenchman with an affinity for studying birdcalls. Seemingly oblivious to her friends conveying their condolences in the wake of her father’s illness and eventual death, Marie appears attracted to Pi merely because he’s the first and only one to draw the predictable line between the very delicate Norwegian kilo she must look after and her own personal burdens, with his romantic pondering of how much a life or love weighs enough to sway her clinical mindset. The smugness that typifies Pi and his philosophizing eventually affects even the seminar plotline, which is initially intriguing for a series of discussions among scientists about how disagreements in the mass of the kilo have the capacity to lead to war. In the end, Hamer’s view of current international relations comes to down to a treacly rendition of “Kumbaya.”
- Kino Lorber
- 87 min
- Bent Hamer
- Bent Hamer
- Ane Dahl Torp, Laurent Stocker, Hildegun Riise, Stein Winge, Per Christian Ellefsen, Didier Flamand, Dinara Drukarova
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