30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 minutes in Swedish with subtitles
This unforgettable film version of Knut Hamsun's great novel won the Best Actor award at Cannes. The story is told with revolutionary, disruptive movements from reality to myth as a young, talented writer wanders through an unidentified Scandinavian city during an autumn day in the late 1890s. Unable to sell any of his writings, he is reduced to a physical and moral...
Published on January 9, 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars it was interesting to watch.
I wouldn't call it entertaining but it was interesting. I had read half the book, and then decided to watch the movie instead. I suppose it's existential - think I read that somewhere. I'm not an expert on this. To me it felt like an exploration of projection - the psychological phenemon. And also, perhaps jointly, the emotional decay that comes when you are deeply -...
Published 3 months ago by cocononococo
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 minutes in Swedish with subtitles,
By A Customer
This review is from: Hunger [VHS] (VHS Tape)This unforgettable film version of Knut Hamsun's great novel won the Best Actor award at Cannes. The story is told with revolutionary, disruptive movements from reality to myth as a young, talented writer wanders through an unidentified Scandinavian city during an autumn day in the late 1890s. Unable to sell any of his writings, he is reduced to a physical and moral state of abject suffering and near-madness [yet] somehow retains his sense of humor, intelligence, and a smattering of self-righteous dignity. Every contact with humanity emphasizes the writer's solitude and his gradual acceptance of life as a dream voyage. Per Oscarsson's portrait of despair and hallucinatory exaltation goes far beyond the boundaries of verisimilitude; it is known that he actually lived the role before shooting began, and what one beholds is the gaunt face of one artist dramatizing the plight of all artists who cry out for recognition, with only the symbol of their work to nourish their bodies and unfaltering spirit: it is one of the great film performances of all time.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime,
This review is from: Hunger (DVD)Talented Writer/Director Henning Carlsen does excellent work here, as does actor Per Oscarsson in lead
Fine adaption of what may be my favorite novel of all time, Knut Hamsun's HUNGER.
Waited decades to see this. Finally, when I noticed that the DVD was available on amazon.com, I
got my copy.
Great novels don't always make great films; it's true--but this is that rarest of times when the film is actually as good (or, let's say...comes quite close.) That's high praise from me, because my belief has always been that no matter how terrific a filmed version of a fine novel is, it can never be as good as the book.
If you love Hamsun's beautifully written novel, you'll enjoy this remarkable film.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film about a Great Book,
This review is from: Hunger [VHS] (VHS Tape)This, difficult to find film, merits close examination under the eyes of any reader of modernist literature. Written by Knut Hamsun and based entirely on his experiences of suffering, moral degradation, starvation and humiliation at the hands of the bourgeoisie of Oslo (Kristiana) whose petty values were mired in mockery, snobbish attitudes and haughtiness, truly explores the conscious soul of a writer. The director uses subtle techniques to introduce us to the Oslo of Hamsun's time, replete with arrogant shop owners, horse carriages and stupid followers of the Christian religion. For most of the film, the lead actor, played wonderfully by Per Oscarsson, who is still alive and making films at the age of 77, suffers starvation and yet he is truly determined to live his miserable existence. A gorgeous piece of art and redeemable film whose magnetic images are still important today.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perdition,
This review is from: Hunger (DVD)I will not reiterate what has been said in the very insightful reviews already posted. They speak for themselves.
This film, an adaptation of Knut Hamsun's book of the same title, is a truly great film adaptation of a great work of literature.
When I first read the book decades ago, it haunted me long afterwards. No less so with this film which brought it all to life.
It is fortunate that the film was in fact done in black and white. Color would have detracted from the grim and gritty subject matter of the story.
As one who has faced simalar circumstances during several segments of his life, I can only say this really epitomized the experience of isolation, hopelessness and starvation as I knew it to be.
It is in a sense a heroic and noble story. Despite the ongoing downward turn of events in the protagonist's life, due to his pride, he is not a begger - due to his ethics, he is not a theif. He is a stoic artist, foolish and hapless perhaps as dreamers tend to be, but one can still admire his character and strength amid his abject difficulties and circumstances.
The acting is absolutely superb and though the film is subtitled, nothing is lost of the story and message. This is a film most anyone could go away with sufficient food for thought. If the ratings allowed 6 stars, that is what I would accord it.
3.0 out of 5 stars it was interesting to watch.,
This review is from: Hunger (Amazon Instant Video)I wouldn't call it entertaining but it was interesting. I had read half the book, and then decided to watch the movie instead. I suppose it's existential - think I read that somewhere. I'm not an expert on this. To me it felt like an exploration of projection - the psychological phenemon. And also, perhaps jointly, the emotional decay that comes when you are deeply - for real - hungry and can't secure a place to call home. As a film -- it's really quite a lovey genuine character portrait. Very consumate and very smart in it's authenticity. If not a little dry. Worth watching when you feel like something .... like that.
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting (and good) adaptation of the novel.,
This review is from: Hunger (DVD)For those who haven't read the novel I don't think it is a necessary exercise in order to get something valuable out of the film. That said, having done both, I was in fact a little taken aback by the differences, but then realized that one could not possibly put the trauma written by Hamsun on the screen.
The acting is excellent and the lead is very believable as Hamsun's unnamed protagonist. The only problem lies in the story itself. So much of "Hunger" is internal and existential that it is difficult and almost impossible to express it via an actor. That being said Per Oscarsson does an admirable job in an almost impossible role.
I want to say that truly I am nitpicking here. It is a compelling and visceral film no matter how you slice it and could be considered required viewing for young filmmakers who are admirers of perhaps the Guy Maddin style and school of directing, just as Hamsun's "Hunger" is a must read for aspiring writers who are devotees of psychological oriented writing. Definitely worth a view and highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Time for Europeans to reconsider the case of Knute Hamsun,
This review is from: Hunger (DVD)Brilliant cinamatic treatment of Hamsun's early masterpiece. Buy together with the film "Hamsun" with Max von Sydow and you'll understand why William Rose Benet's "Readers Encyclopedia", in it's latest edition no longer bears any references to Hamsun's so called Nazi sympathisizing in occupied Norway. Hamsun stylisticly broke ground for 4 generations of fiction writers from Hesse to Hemingway. Read Robert Ferguson's 1987 "Enigma:The Life of Knute Hamsun" to realize just how closely autobiographical the novel "Hunger" really was. Stunningly acted and photographed. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Hunger for life.,
This review is from: Hunger (DVD)This 1966 film is based on Knut Hamsun's 1890 novel with the same title; the director, Henning Carlsen, is still making movies in 2010. I haven't known his name before I watched "Hunger", now I'm planning to see his other movies, because this film is amazingly good. It's one of those very rare exceptions when the movie is comparable in quality to the book it's based upon, even though Hamsun's novel deservedly belongs to classics.
Per Oscarsson's and Gunnel Lindblom's amazing performance as two main characters in this film deserves highest recognition too, even though some credit in this case also due to the director, who brought them together in the film, as well as the many other excellent actors, be it in the secondary roles or extras.
Each and every scene in this film can be put on a poster - so beautiful it is graphically. Carlsen has perfect vision, aesthetically impeccable. His taste never fails him. It's very interesting to see, in particular, how the sexual encounter between two main characters is shown. One cannot ignore the fact that very modest scenes are much more human and natural and erotic here than whatever is produced in the Hollywood nowadays.
Hamsun was one of the first existentialist writers. The flim, created by Carlsen, is bigger than any particular genre of style or philosophical paradigm. It's about life itself, in all its complexity, and ugliness, and beauty. "Hunger" is one of the best movies I've ever seen.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning,
This review is from: Hunger (DVD)Knut Hamsun's 1890 novel 'Hunger' is not, on the face of it, a promising candidate to be made into a masterpiece of world cinema film. For a start, it's a really good book, and books this good tend to become bad movies. The narrator, a down-at-heel intellectual and would-be genius, is scuffling around Christiania (now known as Oslo) in search of a lot of things, but mostly greatness, food, money and company, in descending order of importance. However, his pride is so enormous that he can't bear to accept charity from anyone, and so his acute physical hunger soon becomes his main sensation. It's the kind of novel that sensitive literary young men with no money always reckon they have in them somewhere, but which when written usually turns out to be a self-indulgent mess. Hamsun, practically alone among the species, got it right. The book is written with an extraordinary mixture of deep sympathy for its infuriating narrator, but also ironic objectivity about his capacity to be his own worst enemy.
So how do you make a movie out of a story that just follows this weird, obsessive, self-absorbed egotist around a nineteenth century city? One thing you do at the start is cast Per Oscarsson. The Norwegian actor gives the performance of a lifetime as the film's main character, who unlike in the novel is given a name - Pontus. Oscarsson, painfully thin, unshaven, bespectacled, dressed in a tight, shabby suit and perpetually carrying around a bundle of his unpublished manuscripts, is riveting. He moves in quick, sharp, hesitant motions like some kind of neurotic seabird, and he keeps up a constant little mumble to himself, a running commentary on how well his day is going and what he wants to do next and what he thinks of the people around him and the city and anything else that comes into his head. Pontus is visibly going mad with hunger.
It probably sounds like a deeply depressing film, but it's not. The black comedy of Pontus' encounters with people, his absurd attempt to present himself as a more successful and satisfied person than he really is, are what make this film so watchable. The only character in film that I could compare him to is David Thewlis' bitter lumpen-intellectual drifter Johnny in Mike Leigh's 'Naked', but Thewlis' character is more paranoid, bitter and selfish, sponging off everyone around him, while Pontus not only refuses to accept the slightest gesture of charity from anyone, he also refuses to feel sorry for himself. Ultimately, there's something weirdly noble about him.
It's a great performance in a great, haunting film, warmer than Bresson or Bergman and funnier than either.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depression Galore.!!!!!!!!!!!,
This review is from: Hunger (DVD)This movie follows the book very closely. It really makes you feel this characters hunger not only for food, but for freedom of the human spirit and mind.
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Hunger by Henning Carlsen (DVD - 2006)