The spectacular drama The Lion Woman gets the honour of opening the 44th Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund on Sunday 21 August. The film is based on Erik Fosnes Hansen’s novel of the same name and is directed by Vibeke Idsøe.
– It’s a great pleasure to open the film festival with The Lion Woman! This is a magnificent drama with a unique protagonist but universal appeal. The story about the lonely child who doesn’t fit in, but still finds a path to redemption and acceptance, is both a moving and upsetting story everyone will recognise themselves in, Festival and Programme Director Tonje Hardersen says.
The film’s producer John M. Jacobsen is also happy to be back in Haugesund, after he opened the 1998 edition with Only Clouds Move the Stars.
– The Norwegian International Film Festival having selected The Lion Woman as its opening film is something we are very pleased with. I believe that the film has become what we hoped for at the outset: an international blockbuster that grips your emotions and is impressive to watch, Jacobsen says. – This view seems to be widely shared abroad where it has already secured distribution in more than 40 countries, long before it’s finished. In my 30 years as a film producer I’ve never seen anything like this amount of advance interest, he continues.
The Lion Woman is directed by Vibeke Idsøe who made a big splash with her debut Body Troopers in 1996. In 2005 she also received a lot of attention for her previous film 37 and a Half, about women who see their youth disappear in the rear mirror. This is the first time the director is represented with a film at the Norwegian International Film Festival.
– I’m very proud that The Lion Woman has been chosen to open the film festival in Haugesund. It has been a fantastic story to adapt to cinema, and I’m thankful and proud to have worked with the very best talent in Scandinavia, Ireland and Germany. Both before and behind the camera. It is a Norwegian story that could have taken place anywhere in the world. A story about being different that I think almost everyone will recognise themselves in, director Idsøe says.
The Lion Woman
In a little station town in Norway, on a starry winter night in 1912, the little child Eva Arctander is born into the world. Her mother Ruth dies in childbirth and her father Gustav is left with a child totally unlike anything seen before: her entire body is covered by long blonde hair.
Gustav is ashamed of the child. She is confined to their apartment at the station and he leaves it to the nanny Hannah to take care of her. Hannah grows fond of Eva and fights for her right to be treated like everyone else.
The film features a star-studded team before the camera, led by Rolf Lassgård as Gustav, who recently won the Guldbagge Award in Sweden as Best Actor for A Man Called Ove. The role as Eva is played by three young actresses at different ages: Aurora Lindseth-Løkka, Mathilde T. H. Storm and Ida Ursin-Holm. In other roles we find among others Kåre Conradi, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Kjersti Tveterås, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Henrik Mestad and from Denmark Karen-Lise Mynster, Lars Knutzon and Connie Nielsen. German actors include Ken Duken, who was previously seen as Gestapo commander Fehmer in Max Manus.
The Lion Woman is produced by John M. Jacobsen, Reza Bahar and Marcus B. Brodersen. It is distributed by Nordisk Film Distribusjon and receives its regular premiere on 26 August.