Monday, January 26, 2009


This film was an absolute delight to view and I am glad I made time for it, cause I almost missed the screening. In any case this is a "just 'cause" film. There is no striking revelation; there is no deep seeded message. The film just exists as life, memory, and experience has created it. This film didn’t profoundly move me but I was touched by it’s honesty. O’Horten’s writer/director Bent Hamer brings us an enchanting old man, Odd Horten. Odd is a train conductor and on the eve of his retirement he goes through a series of, what one could only expect, unusual, out of character experiences.

The film is set in Norway, in the dead of winter, and the score and music generate this otherworldly wonderland of snow, trains and childhood. As children play with train sets, Odd and his co-workers play guess what train with audiotapes. There is this beautiful sense of coming of age to this film which was quite unexpected, since the film has a sixty-seven year-old as it’s protagonist. But Odd is breaking apart from certain sets of codes and conduct he has come to understand, accept and have regulate his life. However he's experiences aren't subversive or inappropriate, Odd is just a man, and we’re just bearing witness to this life-changing event, as he is growing up.

It’s Norway in the dead of winter and there is Odd and this burning flame of liberty and independence. For Hamer to have a sixty-seven-year-old ignite, in a twenty-two-year-old, a sense of liberation is something I just can’t help but applaud. This is a true coming of age film. Odd is almost analogous to Alise (pronounced Aleesa & picture below) from Mermaid which I also watched at the Palm Springs Film Festival that you will read about soon. But Alise is eighteen and Odd is sixty-seven; so what this film accomplishes is remarkable. Overall Hamer has created a charming, and captivating film revolving around (I believe at least) a simple question; do we ever stop growing up? If you asked Odd Horten or me, we would have to say no, we never do.

No comments: