Oda and her friends are holidaying in the stunning south of Norway, seemingly shielded from a deadly virus spreading around the world.
**This short film was shot in 2018, before COVID-19. However, in the current circumstances, its plot and themes could be upsetting. Viewer discretion is advised.**
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Written and Directed by Jakob Rørvik
“If the world ends, what will you miss the most? A question we’ve all undoubtedly asked ourselves at some point during the past few weeks. It’s also one Oda poses to her impossibly good-looking Scandi friends, in Jakob Rørvik’s (Nothing Ever Really Ends) latest short, Apocalypse Norway.
Painted with luscious visuals and scored with mysterious, melancholy sounds, the 20-minute drama is at once a portrait of youthful naivety and an emblem of humanity’s fragility. It’s a haunting tale, made all the more compelling by the eerie parallels we can’t help but draw between the fictional danger Rørvik’s characters face, and the all too real one we are currently faced with ourselves.
Apocalypse Norway is the story of six adolescents holidaying at an idyllic coastal retreat in the south of Norway. Seemingly shielded from a deadly virus spreading around the world, as the news breaks that the pandemic has reached the heart of Europe, the friends must come to terms with the fact that, despite their privileged and carefree lives, they could be next.
Relying less on character development and plot, Apocalypse Norway captivates the viewer through mood and resonant imagery instead, narrowly avoiding coming-of-age cliches in the process. Watching the film is much like succumbing to a hazy cinematic dream—quite fitting since it was inspired by one.
“The basic plot of the film is a variation on actual nightmares I’ll have every now and then. These dreams take place at different locations in Norway, but always with the event: the illusion of safety as seen from a Nordic vantage point being torn apart. And so I think the idea really formed around a notion – which I extended to a collective experience – that yes, obviously the world and our lives are utterly fragile, yet we actively – consciously and unconsciously – cover up these quite possible scenarios as we go about our waking lives. In Norway one such cover-up-strategy is a belief in a never-ending growth of wealth and daily comforts” – Rørvik shared with S/W.
Besides the videos she records for her social media following, there is very little specificity to the characters and we learn very little about Oda or her friends. This allows them to serve as avatars for a more universal experience, as we can project ourselves more cleanly into their predicament. Rørvik frames the adolescents as beautiful, ethereal creatures who like to drink, party and make love, but he doesn’t reveal anything of substance for us to hold on to, and in doing so the director shifts the focus from his unknowable subjects, to their surroundings.
Apocalypse Norway is all about the atmosphere and there is an abundance of it. As if the setting, with the warm sunshine bathing the unspoilt Norwegian coast and rolling hills wasn’t heavenly enough, cinematographer Andreas Bjørseth shoots the bright landscape as if through a layer of gauze. The soft pastel colours and dimmed, fuzzy tones echoing the darkening shades of a memory, or maybe a dream turning into a nightmare.
(…Continue reading the entire review on ShortoftheWeek.com)” – S/W Curator Serafima Serafimova
Writer and Director Jakob Rørvik
Starring Billie Barker, Kjetil Jore, Lotte Tomine Henningsen, Håkon Stubberud, Lea Meyer and Lars Tafjord
Producers Henrik Hofstad, Fredrik Støbakk, Ruben Thorkildsen, Jakob Rørvik
Co-producer Gunhild Oddsen
Composer André Bratten
Cinematographer Andreas Bjørseth vimeo.com/user2535708
Production Designer Ann Kristin Bjørge
Costume Designer Ida Toft
Editor Fredrik Limi
Supervising Sound Editor Christian Schaanning
Colorist Christian Berg-Nielsen
VFX Simon M. Valentine
Financed through the Norwegian Film Institute, Fond For Lyd & Bilde, Viken and Filmkraft Rogaland.
Produced by Ape&Bjørn
Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.