Bracknell Film Society Selection

'1001 GRAMS'

To book a ticket for this and forthcoming BFS screenings please contact the SHP Box Office on 01344 484123 or click the logo below to book via the SHP website.
Tickets £8.60, SHP members £7.00.
BFS members (BFS shows only) £6.60. You may have to show a BFS membership card. Concessions £7.60. SHP make an additional £0.70 charge when paying by credit card. Reserving a ticket by phone, expect to pay by cash at the box office 30 minutes prior to show time.

Tuesday 9th February 7.45pm




Director: Bent Hamer, Norway/Germany/France, 2014, 93 minutes Norwegian/French with subtitles
Ane Dahl Torp, Laurent Stocker, Stein Winge

Movie Review: 1001 Grams -- The Measure of Life

Updated May 14, 2015

Marshall Fine
Author and film critic,

I am a big fan of Norwegian filmmaker Bent Hamer. The Norwegian films of his that have made it to American screens -- Kitchen Stories, O'Horten and now 1001 Grams (currently in limited release) reveal a miniaturist dealing in microcosms that reveal the world.

In the case of 1001 Grams, it is the world of weights and measures, a subject to which most of us probably never give a thought. We take it for granted that the scale at the deli or the pump at the gas station are correctly calibrated and barely notice the little stickers they all bear, indicating that, in fact, someone has made sure of their accuracy.

Marie Ernst (Ane Dahl Torp) is one of the people who applies those stickers, after first measuring against her own government-approved standard. Her life is about precision, things neatly contained with easily understood units of measure.

Well, not all of it. There are loose ends in her life, such as her ongoing divorce. She endures a daily ritual of parking across the street from her austere suburban townhouse in her car after work. She waits because her ex-husband inevitably has chosen that time to enter the house and take pieces of furniture and other possessions. He leaves - and then she can go home to an increasingly bare domicile.

But the cool, somewhat remote Marie, who works with her father (Stein Winge), has her world further disrupted when her father is hospitalized just before the annual international seminar on the kilogram in Paris.

Review: ‘1001 Grams,’ by the Norwegian Filmmaker Bent Hamer, Mixes Levity and Gravity

The Norwegian filmmaker Bent Hamer is notable for his deadpan visual wit and his interest in odd jobs. “Factotum,” his 2005 English-language feature starring Matt Dillon, followed its down-and-out protagonist (drawn from the writing of Charles Bukowski) through a series of unlikely employments. None were quite as peculiar as the work undertaken by the researchers in “Kitchen Stories,” who perched in lifeguard chairs in middle-class kitchens in the 1950s to observe the habits of housewives. The title character in “O’Horten” had the relatively conventional profession of railway conductor but compensated with personal eccentricity.
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Related Coverage

1001 Grams MAY 8 2015

In “1001 Grams,” Marie Ernst (Ane Dahl Torp) follows, deliberately and dutifully, in the footsteps of previous Hamer heroes. She’s a researcher at a pristine, orderly factory that manufactures weights — not the rough iron plates you might lift at a gym, but the shiny metal cylinders that balance grocers’ and pharmacists’ scales. Her workplace also houses the Norwegian prototype kilogram, an object so precious that it can be transported only inside two glass bell jars and a specially designed case.

Marie is assigned to travel with her country’s prize kilo to an international conference on weights and measures in France, which sets up an amusing airport-security sequence. Mr. Hamer shows off his poker-faced, borderline-invisible comic style from time to time, but the dominant mood in “1001 Grams” is one of stoical, melancholy resignation. Marie sits in her tiny electric car watching her former husband remove paintings and furniture from the boxy little Modernist house they once shared. She takes cigarette breaks with her father at work and visits him on the family farm, worrying about his health until she discovers his dead body in the hay barn.

The movie is about her grief and disappointment, emotions that Ms. Torp, with her clear eyes, smooth skin and ruler-straight posture, expresses through gestures so subtle they almost escape detection by the camera. Marie is professional and temperamentally committed to balance, to careful measurement and precise, dispassionate calibrations of cause and effect. Mr. Hamer shares this commitment. His frames are meticulously composed, his camera movements minimal and surgical, his pacing decorous and deliberate.

But the point of all of this restraint and control — which is both pleasing and confining, for the audience as it is for the characters — is to allow small eruptions of chaos to become visible. Marie’s life is upended by a series of accidents and surprises. Some of them are physically and emotionally painful, but to the extent that they undermine her composure they also offer a way out of her rut.

In France, she meets Pi (Laurent Stocker), a former scientist who works as a groundskeeper at the Institute for Weights and Measures and who records bird songs in his spare time. Cheerful and a little disheveled, he seems in some ways like Marie’s opposite, and we all know what happens to opposites, at least according to the romantic-comedy understanding of the laws of physics.

“1001 Grams” achieves a charming equipoise of levity and gravity, of formal rigor and soulful sentiment. It’s a quiet movie, sometimes to the point of near inaudibility, and a small one, so unassuming that, like Marie herself, it seems to want at times to disappear altogether. But here it is, sure of its proportions and also much bigger and messier than it looks.

The New York Times

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