Kristin Lavransdatter


2h 21m 1995

Brief Synopsis

Set in medieval Norway, a young woman follows her true love while leaving behind family and society.

Film Details

Also Known As
Kristin La Vransdatter, Kristin Lavransdotter
Release Date
1995
Distribution Company
Norsk Filmdistribusjon
Location
Sel, Norway; Oslo, Norway; Gudbrandsdalen, Norway; Trondheim, Norway; Norsk Film Studios, Oslo, Norway

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 21m

Synopsis

Set in medieval Norway, a young woman follows her true love while leaving behind family and society.

Film Details

Also Known As
Kristin La Vransdatter, Kristin Lavransdotter
Release Date
1995
Distribution Company
Norsk Filmdistribusjon
Location
Sel, Norway; Oslo, Norway; Gudbrandsdalen, Norway; Trondheim, Norway; Norsk Film Studios, Oslo, Norway

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 21m

Articles

Kristin Lavransdatter


It's no secret that actress Liv Ullmann played a key role in the career of the great Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman. Her searing performances in such legendary films as Persona, Cries and Whispers, and Scenes From a Marriage rank with the most memorable in all of world cinema. But many people don't realize that Ullmann is a passionate filmmaker in her own right. Her touch with actors is on ample display in Home Vision Entertainment's DVD release of Kristin Lavransdatter, a period epic based on Sigrid Undset's sprawling, Nobel Prize-winning novel. However, even if you're interested in this sort of thing, you should still brace yourself for three hours worth of glacial pacing.

Though the film, which is set in 14th century Norway, is, in many ways, a straight-ahead love story, it also deals with the struggle between sexuality and spiritual release. After a lengthy opening, during which Kristin's family experiences some personal misfortunes, Kristin (Elisabeth Matheson) turns her back on her father (Sverre Anker Ousdal) when he promises her hand in marriage to a man she simply doesn't love (Sverre Anker Ousdal.)

After entering a nunnery to sidestep the marriage, Kristin unexpectedly falls for a young man named Erlend (Bjorn Skagestad.) Unfortunately, Erlend has had a mistress for 10 years, and has fathered two children. But that doesn't stop strong-willed Kristin, who will stay committed to Erland even if it means shattering her existence. All this torment is set against a period backdrop that, more often than not, overwhelms the script's intricate plotting. After a while, you simply end up gawking at the visuals and production design, rather than pondering the narrative.

Those elegant visuals can be traced to cinematographer Sven Nykvist, who imbues the film with a combination of down-and-dirty grit and an almost hyper-romanticized lushness. Nykvist, whose workload has dwindled in recent years, is nothing short of a genius. A list of just a few of the films he's shot reveals a massive talent who can effortlessly move between high art and pop culture fluff: Bergman's Hour of the Wolf, and The Serpent's Egg, Polanski's The Tenant, Alan Pakula's Starting Over, Bob Fosse's Star 80, and scores of other pictures directed by everyone from Nora Ephron to Woody Allen. Kristin Lavransdatter is one of his more memorable efforts.

Surrounding yourself with talent is an important aspect of any director's duties, so, between Nykvist and a very able cast, Ullmann wins on that count. But, again, you may need an espresso machine in your lap to make it through the picture in its entirety. The film is presented in a clean 1.78: 1 aspect ratio image, and luxurious colors are the main highlight. Costume drama fans will definitely have a lot to "ooh" and "ahh" over, although the costumes are often tattered or covered in dirt. It's not like this is some laminated Hollywood version of the 1300s.

Home Vision includes an Ullmann biography, the film's original trailer, and a very revealing sit-down interview with Ullmann in which she details just how much planning she commits to a project before she actually starts shooting (She likes to spend at least a year working things out before she begins!) Her commitment to detail certainly shows in the finished product, but you could argue that her lack of spontaneity is there, too.

For more information about Kristin Lavransdatter, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Kristin Lavransdatter, go to TCM Shopping.

by Paul Tatara

Kristin Lavransdatter

Kristin Lavransdatter

It's no secret that actress Liv Ullmann played a key role in the career of the great Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman. Her searing performances in such legendary films as Persona, Cries and Whispers, and Scenes From a Marriage rank with the most memorable in all of world cinema. But many people don't realize that Ullmann is a passionate filmmaker in her own right. Her touch with actors is on ample display in Home Vision Entertainment's DVD release of Kristin Lavransdatter, a period epic based on Sigrid Undset's sprawling, Nobel Prize-winning novel. However, even if you're interested in this sort of thing, you should still brace yourself for three hours worth of glacial pacing. Though the film, which is set in 14th century Norway, is, in many ways, a straight-ahead love story, it also deals with the struggle between sexuality and spiritual release. After a lengthy opening, during which Kristin's family experiences some personal misfortunes, Kristin (Elisabeth Matheson) turns her back on her father (Sverre Anker Ousdal) when he promises her hand in marriage to a man she simply doesn't love (Sverre Anker Ousdal.) After entering a nunnery to sidestep the marriage, Kristin unexpectedly falls for a young man named Erlend (Bjorn Skagestad.) Unfortunately, Erlend has had a mistress for 10 years, and has fathered two children. But that doesn't stop strong-willed Kristin, who will stay committed to Erland even if it means shattering her existence. All this torment is set against a period backdrop that, more often than not, overwhelms the script's intricate plotting. After a while, you simply end up gawking at the visuals and production design, rather than pondering the narrative. Those elegant visuals can be traced to cinematographer Sven Nykvist, who imbues the film with a combination of down-and-dirty grit and an almost hyper-romanticized lushness. Nykvist, whose workload has dwindled in recent years, is nothing short of a genius. A list of just a few of the films he's shot reveals a massive talent who can effortlessly move between high art and pop culture fluff: Bergman's Hour of the Wolf, and The Serpent's Egg, Polanski's The Tenant, Alan Pakula's Starting Over, Bob Fosse's Star 80, and scores of other pictures directed by everyone from Nora Ephron to Woody Allen. Kristin Lavransdatter is one of his more memorable efforts. Surrounding yourself with talent is an important aspect of any director's duties, so, between Nykvist and a very able cast, Ullmann wins on that count. But, again, you may need an espresso machine in your lap to make it through the picture in its entirety. The film is presented in a clean 1.78: 1 aspect ratio image, and luxurious colors are the main highlight. Costume drama fans will definitely have a lot to "ooh" and "ahh" over, although the costumes are often tattered or covered in dirt. It's not like this is some laminated Hollywood version of the 1300s. Home Vision includes an Ullmann biography, the film's original trailer, and a very revealing sit-down interview with Ullmann in which she details just how much planning she commits to a project before she actually starts shooting (She likes to spend at least a year working things out before she begins!) Her commitment to detail certainly shows in the finished product, but you could argue that her lack of spontaneity is there, too. For more information about Kristin Lavransdatter, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Kristin Lavransdatter, go to TCM Shopping. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Limited Release in United States April 27, 1998

Released in United States 1995

Released in United States 1997

Released in United States April 1996

Released in United States August 21, 1995

Released in United States March 1996

Released in United States October 1996

Released in United States on Video November 17, 1998

Released in United States September 1995

Released in United States Spring April 27, 1998

Shown at Montreal World Film Festival (in competition) August 24 - September 4, 1995.

Shown at Nordic Film Festival in New York City (Asia Society) April 11-14, 1996.

Shown at Nordic Film Festival in Tokyo May 30 - June 22, 1997.

Shown at Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, Norway August 21, 1995.

Shown at Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentation) September 7-16, 1995.

Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival October 4-20, 1996.

Shown at Women's International Film Festival in Huntington, Los Island March 1996.

Based on the epic novel by Sigrid Undset who won the Nobel Prize in 1929.

Additional photography took place February 27th thru March 2nd and March 4th thru 6th, 1995.

Second film for internationally renowned actress Liv Ullmann who marked her feature directorial debut with "Sofie" (Sweden/Norway/Denmark/1992).

Began shooting May 24, 1994.

Released in United States 1995 (Shown at AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival (International Cinema) October 19 - November 2, 1995.)

Released in United States 1995 (Shown at Montreal World Film Festival (in competition) August 24 - September 4, 1995.)

Released in United States 1997 (Shown at Nordic Film Festival in Tokyo May 30 - June 22, 1997.)

Released in United States March 1996 (Shown at Women's International Film Festival in Huntington, Los Island March 1996.)

Released in United States April 1996 (Shown at Nordic Film Festival in New York City (Asia Society) April 11-14, 1996.)

Released in United States August 21, 1995 (Shown at Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, Norway August 21, 1995.)

Completed shooting October 13, 1994.

Released in United States Spring April 27, 1998

Limited Release in United States April 27, 1998

Released in United States October 1996 (Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival October 4-20, 1996.)

Released in United States September 1995 (Shown at Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentation) September 7-16, 1995.)

Released in United States on Video November 17, 1998