Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Baard Owe, Espen Skjønberg, Ghita Nørby, Henny Moan, Bjørn Floberg
Director: Bent Hamer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
The moment the train leaves the station without train driver Odd Horten aboard, he realizes that the path ahead is a journey without printed timetables and well-known stations. Horten has retired, and the platform does not... more »
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For those who didn't find "The Odd Couple" odd enough
Sharon Isch | Washington, DC USA | 09/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This gorgeously filmed and exceedingly odd tale about a man named "Odd" is very slow moving and probably not a good choice for viewers operating in type A mode. It took me a good while to acclimate to its glacial pace, but I'm glad I finally did.
The movie is set in snow-covered Norway where Odd Horten, a train engineer and man of few words...very, very few words...is about to make his last run on the rails before retirement. Until now, Odd's life has been one of steady-as-he-goes routine, puffing on his pipe, tending to his parakeet, driving his train and visiting his unresponsive mother, the onetime ski jumper, at her nursing home. But now, suddenly, Odd's life is about to become very odd indeed: When he bypasses a locked door to gain access to his own retirement party, he somehow winds up in a strange apartment spending the night in a little kid's bedroom. When he tries to meet with the man who wants to buy his boat, he somehow winds up lost in the middle of an airport runway, with security on his tail. When he goes to get dressed after a swim and sauna, he finds that someone's made off with his boots, leaving him only a pair of bright red high heels to walk home in and, amazingly, they fit.
But it's only after Odd offers to hail a cab for a man lying prone on the sidewalk that things begin to get really really odd and...eventually and, of course, slowly....lead to a most satisfying ending. A great choice for something to watch while snowbound...or wishing you were.
(P.S. Anyone know why a story about someone named Odd Horten would be titled "O'Horten" and not "O. Horten"?)
Deliberate Norwegian Film
Daniel G. Lebryk | 10/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you loved Kitchen Stories, (Kitchen Stories (Original Swedish/ Norwegian Version with English Subtitles) Salmer fra kjøkkenet), you will love this film. I really loved O'Horten.
Oh this movie moves very slowly. Yes it most certainly plods along at it's own special pace. It is Norwegian, I don't think things move very quickly in Norway in the winter. The story is about Odd Horten (yes his name is Odd - I presume a perfectly normal name in Norwegian) a train engineer that is about to retire after decades of perfect service. He is a boring man, does things exactly the same all the time, full of routine. He is also a very quiet humble person. The director places Odd in strange situations that make him leave his routine.
The cinematography is remarkable. In an early scene, Odd is sitting in the engineer's seat of the train, he's framed by an unusual diamond shape. Later when he is talking with the hotel owner, somebody we sense has more than just a hotel / client relationship with Odd, she is very carefully framed in a cabinet that resembles the train. Subtle moments like this happen throughout the film. It's a small technique that adds so much power to the film. The pacing is just so perfect, slow and methodical. The director never presses forward too quickly; he also never repeats the punch line or key moment or speaks past that moment. I loved the timing. The sets were spartan, reflecting the simple routine life of Odd. Things get much more complicated near the end of the film when he meets a friend; his house is full of clutter.
The director Bent Hamer is simply wonderful. There is a wonderful similarity and style with Kitchen Stories (1950's Norway, efficiency experts sat in Norwegian kitchens on a high chair and observed and recorded all the movements of the cook). It is the rare director that doesn't have to fill every minute with action, which can take their time to tell a story.
The film is rated PG-13, the MPAA must be less restrictive in a good way. The rating kind of surprised me given a scene with full frontal male and female nudity. One scene is through an underwater pool window, and is fairly innocent - three people swim by. The other is a male in a sauna; nothing strange in Norway, but a bit odd in the US. I am not contending that the film should be anything but this rating, parents might like to know there are a couple of scenes. There's no violence, strong language, or horrible psychological drama.
The film is presented in Norwegian with English subtitles. There is no English sound track. In addition to a few previews, the DVD includes an interview with the director. It appears this interview is some kind of Norwegian television program or a meet the director night in a night club somewhere. The program is called Blatt Larrett. The two men sit at a table in front of some awful blue background and they wear these awful headset microphones (like the black microphones Madonna used a long time ago). Well the interview is 10 minutes and the Bent Hamer never seems to answer any questions. It is a huge waste of 10 minutes.
I enjoyed this film very much. It is slow. The acting is deliberate. The scenery is sparse. But there is a heart in this film and something very strong.
(3.5 STARS) Odd Horten: Slow-Moving But Life-Affirming Drama
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/11/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
""O' Horten" (2007), Norway's official submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, follows a 67-year-old quiet train driver Odd Horten (Baard Owe) and the people (some of them very strange) he encounters before and after his retirement. The slow and leisurely pace of the film won't be to everyone's taste, but the quirky tone, off-center humor and life-affirming attitudes of the film will appeal to some of the film fans. Perhaps you never saw this bizarre scene of people literally sliding down the street in the cold night of Oslo.
Meet Odd Horten, a pipe-smoking train driver of Norway's Bergen Express. He has been working for the railroad company more than 40 years and he is going to retire this week. On the last day of his job, however, he makes a terrible mistake. He is late for the train. Running impulsively away from the platform (on which he watches his train leaving), Mr. Horten meets people he would not have expected to meet before.
The film is directed by Bent Hamer, whose previous works include "Kitchen Stories and "Factotum," the latter starring Matt Dillon. In his newest film "O' Horten" the Norwegian director has put together a string of apparently unrelated events to suggest our laconic protagonist's past and future. Who is the old landlady at the inn where Horten stays? What happened between him and her? Or what will happen? Everything is open to our imagination.
The film is episodic, and like any episodic films, its pace occasionally lags, but be patient as some episodes (the widow at the tobacco shop, for instance) are really touching. The photography is beautiful, but I am afraid the night shots are sometimes too dark. Again I say this is not a film for everyone, but is recommended for anyone interested in more subdued approach to humor, as well as life, past and future."
It's Not Funny ....
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 08/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
".... unless you're Scandinavian. No, limit that to Norwegian or Swedish, or Minnesotan. Even a Dane wouldn't crack a smile at most of the quirky humor of "O'Horten". But it doesn't matter so much. It isn't really a comedy, though it's advertised as such. It's a wry, tender lament about getting old ... or wait! perhaps it's a deliberate propaganda ploy from the welfare state intended to discourage workers from retirement before they've become decrepit and senile! What is there for old Odd Horten, forty years a railroad engineer, to do with himself on his modest pension except to contemplate the things he's never had the nerve or the means to do? Horten is gentle, reserved, reliable, stiff, meek, an observer rather than a partaker. His health is good. His mother is still alive, probably in her nineties, a one-time ski jumper, now a placid wordless window-sitter in an old folks' home, whom Horten visits faithfully, lovingly. Horten seems never to have married; he is scarcely more alone after retirement than he's always been, but he has more occasion to notice his loneliness.
"O'Horten" is beautifully acted. Beautifully filmed. Heart-achingly real, slow and still, yet concisely edited. Old age is also mostly slow and still but not so artfully edited. You won't enjoy it much but you'll find it touching. Old age, I mean, not the movie. The movie has to be viewed as art, not entertainment.
The actor who plays Horten has a face with more wrinkles than a field of cracked lava. Horten is supposed to be sixty-seven years old. One year younger than I am. Scary. I'll be shaving without a mirror tomorrow morning."