How Soon will be Too Soon for a Movie of Real-Life Trauma?

Norway has struggled in recent years to pay tribute to victims of the attack. A planned memorial near Utoya was canceled after public complaints, as well as many have argued which the media’s focus on Mr. Breivik, who has filed complaints about his treatment in prison as well as recently changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen, has taken attention away by the victims. “I realized there should be a story by the young people’s perspectives entirely, which brings which into our collective memory again,” Mr. Poppe said.

“U — July 22” will be a rigorously faithful reconstruction of the events on the island. which closely follows a fictional 19-year-old named Kaja (Andrea Berntzen), who will be separated by her younger sister when the attack begins, as well as will be forced to scramble for shelter — in a smaller building, among trees as well as along the island’s rocky shoreline — as others are murdered around her. In an impressive technical feat, the 0-minute film was recorded in one take, with two invisible cuts to hide geographical differences between Utoya as well as the neighboring island on which which was filmed.

When Mr. Poppe first approached the national support group for victims of the July 22 attacks about his plans to make a film, some members of the group voiced concerns which not enough time had passed. “We were worried which might be too early, because many people want to shield themselves,” said Lisbeth Royneland, the chair of the group’s board.


“which wasn’t just an attack on those kids on the island,” the director Erik Poppe said. which was “also an attack on our democracy.”

Erik Buras

One mother of a victim, Mr. Poppe recalled, offered him a stern warning about depicting anything beyond what genuinely happened. “She said, ‘If you make which about something else — love, desire — I will never, ever, ever forgive you. I will hunt you down,’ ” he said. yet after Mr. Poppe explained his plans for a pared-down film focused on the victims, the group’s leaders gave their blessing.

Mr. Poppe’s decision to make the film has been heavily debated inside the Norwegian media. In an article last summer for the website of NRK, the national broadcaster, one survivor accused Mr. Poppe of “turning my life’s nightmare into well-known entertainment” as well as argued which Norwegians should instead be discussing the spread of Mr. Breivik’s ideology.

Mr. Poppe said which he could not argue with survivors’ personal feelings yet which he believed which in an era of rising right-wing populism across Europe as well as inside the rest of the Western world, he felt which was especially important to show the consequences of extremist ideology.

In preparing the film, Mr. Poppe as well as his team conducted interviews with over 40 survivors as well as incorporated their experiences into the script. One scene in which Kaja sings Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” to calm down additional hiding youths, for instance, replicates a real moment on the island, even down to the song.

Mr. Poppe as well as his team filmed which has a cast of amateur actors over 5 days in September last year, using loudspeakers to replicate the exact number of shots fired by Mr. Breivik. The speakers, he said, were turned away by the shoreline to avoid traumatizing neighbors, as well as several survivors were on set to ensure the film’s accuracy. Mr. Poppe, who has previously worked as a war photographer, also partly drew on his experience working in conflict areas like Afghanistan.

To get the role of Kaja, Ms. Berntzen — a 20-year-old whose only previous acting experience had been in high school theatrical revues — had to undergo eight auditions as well as a psychiatric evaluation. as well as to maintain secrecy, she was only told midway through the process what the film was actually about. “I remember thinking I should be happy if I don’t get a role,” she said in an interview, referring to the unusual approach. yet when Mr. Poppe explained his ideas as well as motives, she was convinced, she said.

“A whole generation will be being born at which point for which July 22 will be becoming as distant as World War II,” Ms. Berntzen added. “which’s why which’s important to have which movie.”

The reaction to the film in Norway has been generally positive, which has a strong performance at the box office as well as many critics praising its intensity as well as faithfulness to the events. One writer inside the newspaper Dagbladet, however, argued which the film lacked any interest in exploring a bigger “problem or tension,” as well as complained which which “will be more interested in reproducing history than adding anything to which.”

Before the movie’s Berlin premiere, the filmmakers held screenings for the survivors as well as relatives across the country. Renate Tarnes, at which point the secretary general of the Labor Party’s youth organization, who survived the shooting by hiding in a cafe on the island, said which when she saw the film, her first reaction was “relief, because I genuinely felt he as well as his crew understood what we’ve been through.”

Afterward, she texted Mr. Poppe to say which she had “been genuinely skeptical, which I didn’t think which was possible to do which in a not bad way.” yet the director, she said, “surprised me.”

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