I don`t even know how I heard first about Joachim Trier. Probably it was through the program of a film festival (Rakkautta ja Anarkiaa) what I couldn`t attend this year. So since I could not attend it I browsed through the whole program book, checked all the movies on imdb and made lists for myself of the movies what I have to try to watch somehow. This is how I got to Louder than bombs which I really liked. It had only a 6.7 rating on imdb but I could not care less about the points in this case. Somehow I felt that I will enjoy this movie and I was right.
I really like the silent yet very lively world Joachim Trier`s characters live in. It is not the pretentious world of the everyday with empty conversations. Sometimes there is no conversation at all. But even when there is silence there is a lot going on behind the scenes. There is this 15 years old boy for example in Louder than bombs who hardly talks to his father at all during the day. But he keeps a diary on his computer where he writes down everything he thinks and does throughout the day for the girl he has a secret crush on because he wants to print it one day and give it to her that she would understand him better. The need of being understood is a motive which occurs many times in Joachim Tier`s movies such is the asymmetry which often comes with it. Also this small liaison with the secret diary ends how it would probably end in real life. Those two really meet and make some sort of connection which is a bit disappointing, a bit empty but also spontaneous and personal. Meanwhile we do not only see what happened but also hear the story told from a present perspective by the boy himself and watch things unfolding at the same time in front of our eyes. Isn´t real life also this way? While things are happening we see, hear and think. Everything connects to something else and when we remember things what happened to us it is as if we would tell a story to ourselves about ourselves in our head. Strange life..
Joachim Trier`s other movie Reprise was a bit fuzzy to me but I will never forget the scene when the writer Sten Egil Dahl`s dog jumps on Erik after which he falls off the bench and wakes up at his big idol`s home where Sten Egil Dahl tells him that he actually read his book and finds it promising besides the last chapter which was a bit too poetic.
And then we arrive at Oslo, 31. August. Rober Ebert wrote an amazing film review about this movie and I could not agree more on what he wrote. One thought in between: Trier has a real great taste in music. He picks soundtracks so well to his movies that certain scenes become almost like sequences from visual albums to viewers who appreciate music. In one of his interviews he mentions Tarkovsky and it is not a surprise at all after watching his works. He, just as Tarkovsky, believes that cinema is a relatively new art form which did not reach its peak yet. Often used for visual story telling and documentation only, it could be the tool of creating an artistic life illusion which affects all senses through sound and light. In this simulation of life viewers can dissolve and feel life through the movie characters and the space they move in.
One of my favorite scenes in Oslo, 31. August is when close to the end of the movie they are riding their bikes in the morning on the way to the swimming pool. It is an idyllic scene which shows so well that sometimes the line between total despair and the chance to start anew is very thin. Although we feel all the time what the movie is heading towards to, yet that scene offers a slight chance of hope and is pure and beautiful in itself. Joachim Trier told in an interview that Oslo, 31. August is not a personal story, it is not a documentation of drug addiction either. The character of Anders offers a frame to investigate universal topics such as loneliness and separation, connectedness and disconnectedness, despair, hesitation and being on the edge. As I watch the end I seek for Anders in those empty places. May be he appears somewhere in the next scene or the next? And when the movie ends I hope that the end was just the dream or imagination may be and even if it wasn`t I don`t feel like judging him.