Although Norway does have its own film industry which punches out about a dozen or so major releases a year, most of these pass unnoticed by the foreign audience.
However, there is a good handful of Norwegian films that have made a name for themselves abroad. Here are some of the honourable mentions:
Kon-Tiki (1950), Documentary. Won an Academy Award for best documentary. This film shows Norwegian archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl and his crew, crossing the Pacific on a small wooden raft to prove Heyerdahl’s theory that the Polynesians may have originated from South America.
Pathfinder (Ofelâs, 1987), Action/Adventure. Nominated to Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Based on an ancient Sami legend about a boy who defies a band of bloodthirsty robbers to save his people. One of the few movies I’ve seen where the cinema audience bursts into a wild applause at the climax! A Hollywood remake from 2006 replaced the Sami with Native Americans and the bloodthirsty robbers with bloodthirsty Vikings.
Elling (2001), Comedy/Drama. Nominated to Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. A heartfelt, quirky drama about two mental patients who are released from hospital and have to face the challenges of everyday life in the city. A Hollywood remake was planned starring Kevin Spacey, although the project seems to have been abandoned.
The Bothersome Man (Den Brysomme Mannen, 2006), Fantasy/Drama. Won the ACID Award at the Cannes Film Festival. A different, surrealistic film about a man who suddenly finds himself in a new city, with a new job and a new wife, with no memory of how he got there and with no way out.
Stay tuned for more claims to fame in later articles.