Out of Nature: Interview with Director Ole Giæver

The poster for the Norwegian film ‘Out of Nature’ (quite rightly the recipient of the Europa Cinema award at this year’s Berlinale) features the lead character, Martin, mid-stride running solo in mountainous terrain. The image might well have been an advert for the Norwegian tourist board or even a sports brand, were it not for the fact that the male figure is totally nude from the waist down.

Provoked by intrigue, we interviewed director Ole Giæver after the premiere of his award-winning film.

Ole Giæver - Out of Nature

What made you decide to write, direct and play the lead role in ‘Out of Nature’?

I’ve always been writing my own scripts so that came naturally. I actually didn’t go to film school though, I went to an art academy, and I think that’s why it’s always been important for me to develop my own ideas for a film. The strange part, though, was to be an actor as well. When I’m writing the script, I always imagine a real person for my characters – either an actor or someone I know, just to add some flesh a bones to the character. And I didn’t notice at first, but I actually pictured myself in the lead role – but threw that idea away and began looking for an actor who could play the part. We did a pilot with another actor, but during filming, there was a feeling that it wasn’t quite right. So I decided to play the lead role myself, but was initially really uncertain about doing this.

The film features a brutally honest and at times comical voice over, a stream of consciousness, about the main character’s discontent with both his personal and professional life. How did you develop the script for this voice over?

First, I wrote the voice over how I thought it should be. I tried to write it as a stream of consciousness, but there’s a delay from your thoughts to the keyboard, something happens that makes it not really stream of consciousness – some kind of censorship or questioning what you’re writing. So when we were finished shooting and started editing, we started to record the voice over but it didn’t feel authentic. In the end, we took the core of what we wanted to say, threw away the script, and I started improvising whilst watching the footage.

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In addition to playing the lead character, you also cast your wife and son in the film. Were you worried about any autobiographical suggestions?

I wasn’t worried about this, but I did send a letter to all of my relatives to say that there may be some journalists who will say that this is a film about me. I wanted them to be assured that this is a fiction film. Of course, I can identify with the character and there’s a lot of me in it, but the character is fictional.

The lead character, Martin, suffers from discontent and dissatisfaction with his life. Do you think that these are universal human conditions, or are they just a part of the character?

I think we can all relate to the character, and the struggles he’s going through – trying to accept your flaws and hoping to achieve something better for your life, but still accepting that you can’t be perfect. There comes a time when you have to ask yourself, ‘Is this the life I want to lead?’

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