“OLSO, AUGUST 31st ” | writer-director Joachim Trier
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, January 20 9:00 pm –Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City]
How can you express thought in film? How can we specifically show thoughts in a character? As a director, in my view, the most personal is how you see things.
My co-writer Eskil Vogt and I wanted to explore how to create a story that focuses on the emotional, and almost physical, experience of an existential crisis. “I’m lost. How do I move forward?” So Oslo, August 31st is about the state of being lost and that particular loneliness that accompanies it. Cinema is a wonderful art form for talking about loneliness. We can experience films together with other people. It can be a collective experience of loneliness. We’re alone in the dark of the theater, but with other people.
Oslo, August 31st is the story of a resourceful person with a very dark mind. The paradox to the Anders character is that he’s gifted, formerly ambitious, but he lost years of his life because of a lifestyle he couldn’t sustain. I’ve been getting more and more into character studies and I have an ongoing fascination with observing middle class life. I’ve always been curious about the various destinies I’ve seen around me. For example, my friends from my teenage years as a skateboarder. I saw how their lives went into very different directions. Some became drug addicts, others turned out having very successful careers. There’s also great drama in the lives of those with choices.
My first film Reprise is very playful with form and we spent four years writing that screenplay. Oslo, August 31st was written much quicker, and we wanted to reach for simplicity but still maintain an emotional complexity. We wanted there to be a lucidity, a clarity, to this film. Eskil and I share this skepticism about sentimentality and how easy it can be achieved in cinema. We strive to avoid being emotionally conservative.