Lars Daniel Krutzkoff Jacobsen • Director
"A film is a stubborn child that, sooner or later, slips away from you to live its own life"
- Norwegian director Lars Daniel Krutzkoff Jacobsen talked to Cineuropa about The Immoral, his second feature film
Cineuropa met up with Norwegian director Lars Daniel Krutzkoff Jacobsen in Litteraturhuset, one of the hotspots for Norwegian culture in Oslo. This spring, he is at the venue educating film-lovers in the art of script-writing. The Immoral [+see also:
interview: Lars Daniel Krutzkoff Jacob…
film profile], his second feature film, made a good impression at the last Toronto International Film Festival and, through its frankness, boldness, outspokenness and the bizarre behaviour of its characters, brings to mind certain New Wave films.
Cineuropa: The full title of the film is very long.
Lars Daniel Krutzkoff Jacobsen: Indeed. The Immoral – or the Dentist’s Daughter, the Plumber’s Son and the Abandoned Upper-class Youth: A Contemporary Broadside Ballad is a reference to the street singers at the end of the 19th century who performed romantic and tragic love stories. In Norway, we call these popular melodramas “skillingsviser” because people could obtain a small version of the sheet music for these songs for a shilling. That’s why at the beginning and at the end, you can see and hear a real barrel organ player.
And what about the bit between the prologue and the epilogue?
It’s a story that I wanted to be different, featuring characters belonging to various social classes. Incidentally, they are more amoral than immoral: what they need is kind of a moral compass. They simply react as events unfold, in the heat of the moment, with no forethought. As a filmmaker, I find it more interesting to talk about them than about people who are concerned about morals, unless the latter are rebels or victims.
Do you like your characters?
I didn’t try to create likeable characters that the audience could identify with. I keep my distance from them, I observe them: they are down to earth, straightforward, and primarily interested in sex and money. I don’t much like movie heroes who are too passive or depressed. Originally, the father was the main character in The Immoral, followed by the son, and in the end I gave priority to the young couple. You’re not forced to like them, and I’m aware that they may offend some people, but I still hope that they won’t leave the audience indifferent and that emotion will play a part in the experience. I would also like it if the viewer were to appreciate the silences, the quiet pauses, the poetic or musical touches, as well as the nods to Art Nouveau that creep in via the snippets of animation that are superimposed on the frames: I believe it’s good to let images speak for themselves, without having to resort to words.
Are you influenced by Dogme 95?
It’s an important movement, but I was on the scene well before that manifesto, and that’s not where I drew my inspiration from. The directors who get me excited, apart from the New Wave filmmakers, are Herzog, Fassbinder, Antonioni, Pasolini and Fellini. And then I must confess that I’m not a big fan of imposed methods or official instructions, even if I know, as a teacher, that it can sometimes be useful to suggest guidelines. But Einar Sverdrup, one of the scriptwriters for The Immoral, who took film studies in Denmark, is undoubtedly a tad influenced by Dogme 95.
Do you prefer to forge your own path?
Yes, even if the price to pay for having this independence and freedom of mind is constant doubt. Making films for me is rather therapeutic: it’s all about being bold enough to face up to my darker sides in order to try to see things more clearly. I think I’ve found my own way – I dare to be myself and to make my voice heard. I wanted to be a stage director, but cinema became my medium of expertise, even if it involves having a lot of patience and going through cumbersome procedures. I consider myself to be an artist more than an artisan. I’d like to add that I don’t like the word “professional”, because I find it simplistic. A film is a stubborn child that does whatever it wants, that slips away from you to live its own life. If it exudes vital energy, it is in a position to find its own way. Creatively speaking, I feel a little cut off in Norway. In my opinion, energy, passion, and a touch of madness and imagination are often lacking here.
(Translated from French)
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