«Him» press conference report
On April 22, 2021, the press conference dedicated to the film «Him» by Norwegian director Guro Bruusgaard took place. The film is in the Main Competition of the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival. Director Guro Bruusgaard, actors Johannes Joner, Emil Johnsen and Frank Werner Laug participated in the press conference.
«Him» consists of three separate stories in one film. Harald is a boy who constantly falls outside the group. He is not recognized either by friends, school or parents. Emil is unemployed, he is angry and looks down on everyone else. Petter is a Norwegian renowned scriptwriter who wants to make a film about the national hero Fridtjof Nansen. Two men and one boy, one day in Oslo, whom all experiences a social and emotional fall.
«All our characters are men. The initial idea was to create one character, but show him in three incarnations. Yes, the film’s title is “Him” because the picture is about the role of men in modern Norwegian society, which is actively discussing gender roles, so the film raises the question of the masculine identity crisis,» director Guro Bruusgaard said.
According to actor Johannes Joner, «all of the characters start their way on a relatively optimistic note, they hope for something, but all three face their strokes of fate, and things don’t end well for them».
Thus, Emil Johnsen's character starts his path with yet another denial from a potential workplace.
«At some point of the film, he accidentally notices how another character scratches someone else’s car, threatens him and tries to break another person’s life, commit a bad deed, but thinks he acts in the name of justice. How the story ends for the character isn’t exactly clear — it becomes a circle for him, and he ends up where he started,» Johnsen said.
The youngest actor who stars in the picture is Frank Werner Laug, and in the very beginning we see that his character is a boy no one understands.
«The story begins with my character reading his history presentation in class, and the teacher rudely interrupts him by saying that he must have copied his report from the Internet. That's how we get an insight into how my character is seen by others. He is not respected, no one understands him, and that’s what we also see in the relations with his mother and father who don’t notice him — they essentially don’t care about what’s happening to him,» the actor said.
The film's director Guro Bruusgaard said that she «was trying to protect men» in her film.
«I wanted to tell the story of gender roles, about men's social status, using the example of these three people, who face misunderstanding, rejection and humiliation during the entire film. I wanted to tell a story about the people who, for some reason, have become alien to the society. I wanted to share that people have a very complicated attitude towards ambivalent expression of masculinity in Norway. And I would like to create some humane approach to men, who also happen to have their problems that are misunderstood in Europe. Men are more vulnerable than women now due to the current circumstances, but I think that everyone deserves to be seen, heard, acknowledged and respected,» Guro Bruusgaard concluded.