Out Stealing Horses (Ut og stjæle hester) press conference with Hans Petter Moland, Per Petterson and Stellan Skarsgård
Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland is having a busy 2019. It’s only February and he’s already released two films. He might well be more comfortable facing the media at Berlinale for the second of these, the exquisite Out Stealing Horses. The other film, Cold Pursuit, is Moland’s English language debut, and is a remake of his own 2014 film In Order of Disappearance (Kraftidioten), which also starred Stellan Skarsgård, and also premiered in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival. The press for Cold Pursuit was, of course, scaled back after its star Liam Neeson, with stunning candour, told the story of how after a friend was raped some 40 years ago, he enquired about the ethnicity of the attacker and then went looking for a random black man to murder in retribution. Though his second release of 2019 is not going to be subjected to such agonising publicity, the Berlinale press conference gave Moland and Skarsgård, along with other cast and crew, a chance to discuss their wondrous offering.
The filmmaker spoke about the first time he encountered the book his feature is based upon (written by Per Petterson, who was in attendance). He described the novel as something that “seeps into you, so it feels like you’re part of a life that’s true, something that encompasses part of being a human being,” going on to call the story “an overwhelming and hard-to-decipher novel.”
Skarsgård wasn’t so enthusiastic about other writers earlier attempts to adapt the novel, saying “I saw a script several years ago, which wasn’t very good. But I read the book and it was fantastic.” He signed on once Moland had taken a shot at adapting the novel (which has been translated into more than 50 languages). “Hans Petter then wrote a script which got to the very soul of the book, and not just relating what happened in the book.”
The omnipresence of the forest in the film originated with Petterson’s vivid descriptions in the novel. The mountainous region on the border between Norway and Sweden, where the movie is set, is where the author actually resides – although he lived in the area, moved away and then felt compelled to return. The writer was very happy with the way the landscape is presented in the final product: “I think Hans Petter has succeeded in transferring that to film. It was strange to watch the film, because I was like, yes, yes!”
The immersive sound effects were very much a deliberate choice, with the audio morphing between music and sound effects to the point that it can be difficult to decipher the difference. Molland was tinkering with the movie’s sound to the very end: “It was only finished yesterday at three o’clock!”
Photo: Matthias Narayek/ Getty Images
Out Stealing Horses (Ut og stjæle hester) does not have a UK release date yet. Read our review here.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Out Stealing Horses (Ut og stjæle hester) here: