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Original title
Running time
90 min.
Norway Norway
Bent Hamer, Harold Manning
John Christian Rosenlund
, , , , ,
Co-production Norway-Germany; BulBul Film AS / Pandora Filmproduktions GmbH
Comedy. Drama
Synopsis / Plot
The appearance of peppy pensioner Espen helps seize the day for retired train driver Bård, and sparks a series of life-changing adventures. The moment the train leaves the station without train driver Odd Horten aboard, he realizes that the path ahead is a journey without printed timetabels and well-known stations. Horten has retired, and the platform does not feel like a safe place anymore. With death as a metphor, the film draws a melancholy and humorous portrait of an aging man in situations most people probably will not get into, but hopefully will recognize.

O'Horten (the “O” stands for the commonly used Norwegian first name “Odd'') is another whimsical foray into the absurd irrationalities of the mind. The film is a gently deadpan comedy that exudes a real affection for its eccentric central character.

After forty long, hardworking years, sixty-seven-year-old Odd Horten (veteran actor Bård Owe, frequently cast by Lars von Trier) retires from his dutiful, comfortably routine position as a train engineer. With his new-found freedom and lack of daily structure, Horten finds it increasingly difficult to adapt to his new and unruly existence as a pensioner. Little does he know that his uneventful way of living is about to take an invigoratingly quirky turn, as he will soon discover that life still has much more in store for him. Instead of sitting back and enjoying his well-earned retirement, he finds himself wedged in the centre of gradually more awkward affairs. Horten becomes increasingly involved in the bizarrely unconventional as he meets new friends, rekindles old flames, wears sexy red high heels and finds himself accepting a ride from a blindfolded automobile driver.

Similar to Hamer's previous feature films Eggs and Kitchen Stories in terms of observational acumen, O'Horten is an intimately crafted slice-of-life tale that is both sincere and absurd. The film injects a comedically straight-faced sense of humour into its humane, sympathetic narrative and appropriately inventive stylistic sensibility. Owe's intriguingly amiable appearance, well-intentioned attitude and overall charismatic demeanour provide an even greater sense of elegance and vitality, making O'Horten an all the more gratifying and unique cinematic experience. (From
2008: Cannes film Festival: Nominated for Un Certain Regard Award. Palm Dog - Jury Prize
2008: European Film Awards: Nominated for Prix d'Excellence
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