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Kim Hiorthøy • Director

"I don’t believe in the free flow of thoughts when it comes to artistic creation"


- Cineuropa caught up with Norwegian director Kim Hiorthøy, whose debut feature, The Rules for Everything, is being released in Norway

Kim Hiorthøy • Director

Norwegian director Kim Hiorthøy is a versatile artist who is eclectic in her choices to say the least: a composer, writer, graphic designer and photographer, among other things, whose originality, humour and boldness are often praised. We get a taste for this in the surprising incantatory recitative that is the teaser for The Rules for Everything [+see also:
interview: Kim Hiorthøy
film profile
, her debut feature film. This film, produced by Motlys and distributed by Arthaus, was brought about as part of the Nye veier (New Ways) programme run by the Norwegian Film Institute. The programme aims above all to encourage budding talent, to help aspiring filmmakers to develop and delve deeper into their projects, providing them with financial support and helping them in their work.

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Cineuropa: How did your film take shape?
Kim Hiorthøy:
I’d dreamt of making a feature film for a long time, but without the encouragement of Yngve Sæther, a producer at Motlys, I would never have dared to embark on this adventure. My project obviously evolved as the days went by. Initially, for example, Storm, the main character, was a boy. Then he gradually become a girl, which lent itself better to the dramatic needs of the story. During the creative process I usually followed my instincts, my intuition, but a certain amount of discipline and rigour was also necessary, as Nye veier requires you to produce detailed reports, and work to specific deadlines for the different stages in the development process. Generally speaking, I don’t believe in letting go completely, in the free flow of thoughts when it comes to artistic creation. It’s an overly romanticised vision of things. Spontaneity can’t just be allowed to run riot, and you hold yourself back a lot more than you might think.

You enlisted the help of a co-writer, why?
Along the way I had certain doubts. The ideas were there, but I wasn’t really getting anywhere with them. Ilse Ghekiere helped me to develop the screenplay, to make the whole thing more dynamic. It was a passionate partnership.

What about the plot?
The story itself could take place anywhere. It’s not tied to any one specific culture. It’s set in the modern world, with characters you can identify with: death, survival strategies, life and its moments of humour are all things that people have experience of, be it directly or indirectly.

Why plays Storm, this wounded little girl on a quest for consistency?
Tindra Hillestad Pack
. Working with her was easier than I thought it would be. I didn’t explain much to her, I mostly gave her clear and specific instructions, her mere presence being more than enough in my opinion. She really impressed me. The languages used in the film are English and Norwegian, as the actors are from different places: Tindra is Anglo-Norwegian, Pavle Heidler is Croatian, Ingrid Olava is Norwegian, and Natalie Press is British. I should point out that the faces of the actors are kept bare, without make-up, natural, like in a documentary. Usually actors want to look good in every sense of the word, and you can understand that. For them, putting make-up on is a way of protecting themselves. But in a small team, in a good filming atmosphere, on familiar ground, you feel comfortable even without make-up.

You’ve photographed some well-known directors, such as Margreth Olin.
Yes, but this time, to better dedicate myself to the direction, I wanted to entrust the role of director of photography to Øystein Mamen, an expert in his field; he worked, among other things, on Out of Nature [+see also:
film review
interview: Ole Giæver
film profile
by Ole Giæver. Working with him was so rewarding. In general, I like dialogue, outside contributions. I leave everyone as much freedom as possible, within the framework of their expertise of course.

The Rules for Everything is unusual, unlike any other film.
I hope so. I’d like people to pay attention to the structure, the way in which the first and last act speak to one another for example, in a sort of mirror effect. This symmetry can also be seen in the characters: they resemble one another despite their differences. They reflect one another.

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(Translated from French)

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