Workshop with the producer Finn Gjerdrum
The third day of the festival began with the screening of Otakar Vavra’s 1966 movie, Romance for Bugle, in the newly opened Noam Chomsky theatre. Afterwards, in The Damned Yard theatre, Abbas Kiarostami’s movie, Close-Up, was shown as part of the Retrospective of Greatness programme. Slightly tired from the motion pictures, the young film authors and guests of the festival impatiently awaited the screening of the Norwegian movie, Troubled Water, nonetheless. With its unusual form and excellent cast, this movie thrilled the audience, and even managed to bring some of them to tears. Following the lengthy applause, Finn Gjerdrum, the movie’s producer, appeared on stage and led a workshop. At the start of the workshop, Gjerdrum relayed greetings from the director, Erik Poppe, who was unfortunately unable to attend the festival due to health issues. Thanking the audience for their welcoming applause, Gjerdrum announced that he is very happy with the atmosphere that prevailed during the projection of the movie and the reactions of the audience.
The collaboration between producer Finn Gjerdrum and director Erik Poppe has continued since 1984, and Troubled Water is the third project that they worked on together. Commenting on the process of making the movie, Gjerdrum said,
- In this movie we played with structure. In the first version, we began with the story of the mother of the killed child, which made Thomas appear like a monster. We decided to change it – we wanted to develop sympathy for him. We knew the editor and we wanted to involve him in the process of developing the script. The whole process was like sculpting. We also adopted a motto: ‘perfect and balanced.
While producing and working on this movie, Gjerdrum and Poppe consistently researched and worked with the actors
- We were interested in investigating the characters, and not in the construction of plot. That was the process in which we constantly asked ourselves, ‘what would I do if I was in that situation?’ Poppe likes to work with the actors who could act the scenes out as if they were acting in a theatre and who are free to express their own acting talent. For example, the role of the mother in this movie was famous for being one of the participants in the Eurovision Song Contest. We wanted to make a film with a strong story for a female actress. In Norway, there were discussions that there were not enough strong roles for female characters.
Speaking about the opportunities in Norwegian cinematography, Gjerdrum pointed out that since they are in a small country with a very stable cinema audience, the opportunities are very good both for filming and screening movies. He emphasized that the support system was good and that the authors managed to draw the attention of the public to Norwegian film, which, in turn, stimulated politicians to invest in local films.
In response to the question of why they decided to deal with the theme of redemption, Gjerdrum stated that the church is a place where people greatly and frequently talk about forgiveness and that they believed that for this reason it was the ideal setting in which they could further develop the theme of their movie. Commenting on the character of the priest in which the main character falls in love with, and about her symbolism and true significance, Gjerdrum explained,
- In Norway, there are a lot of female priests and they have a lot of social functions. We thought that it was necessary for the male character to feel love and to fall in love regardless of what he has been through or done; as a result we decided to research and develop the relationship between him and the female priest. She is a very modern type of priest, as is seen in the scene in which she gives a shot to the drug addict. In the end, she is the one who had to reassess herself, to decide whether or not she could forgive Thomasand have her life back again.
Gjerdrum announced his next project in which he will work with Poppe again. The movie, The Pornographer, is set in 1870, and discusses a photographer who works in a brothel and takes erotic photographs.
Thanking the audience once more on the welcome and for handing him the opportunity to present the movie at Kustendorf, Gjerdrum stated at the end of the workshop that,
- Unfortunately, I’m not here for long enough, but I am totally enjoying myself nonetheless. There are a lot of young people, a lot of energy, and I would like to thank you for that.