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also known as Sult

Hunger1966

  • 4.2
HUNGER, a Scandinavian co-production (filmed in Oslo, Norway, and featuring Swedish actor Per Oscarsson), is a portrait of poverty in the 1890s. Danish writer/director Henning Carlsen adapts Knut Hamsun celebrated novel-of-the-same-name, boiling the book down to its necessary core. Pontus, a writer, is at wits' end. He is without a reliable income and is forced to gradually sell his possessions for what little money these items will generate. But even those few coins are not enough amongst such suffering. Pontus is compelled to give it away. Even when one of his articles is about to be published in the local newspaper, he declines the offer of an advance. Too proud to accept the reality of his situation, a desperate solution is required.

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"Best Actor" winner at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.


2 members like this review

This is a very original film, and the actor definitely earned his best actor award at Cannes. I have not read the book that it is based on, but what makes this film remarkable is that the filmmaker manages to get you inside the head of the main character, which is quite unusual in films. About a starving writer who hunger and desperation seems to have made a little crazy and foolishly proud, the film follows him about the city streets and flea bag hotel rooms as he tries to get a job and also pursues a beautiful lady. By the films end the nobility of his "madness" is revealed. This should be a real treat for any film aficianado.

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Member Reviews (6)

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top reviewer

This is a very original film, and the actor definitely earned his best actor award at Cannes. I have not read the book that it is based on, but what makes this film remarkable is that the filmmaker manages to get you inside the head of the main character, which is quite unusual in films. About a starving writer who hunger and desperation seems to have made a little crazy and foolishly proud, the film follows him about the city streets and flea bag hotel rooms as he tries to get a job and also pursues a beautiful lady. By the films end the nobility of his "madness" is revealed. This should be a real treat for any film aficianado.

2 members like this review

I've always considered this film a landmark in cinema. I was overjoyed to find it here on FANDOR! The true relentless vitality of Per Oscarsson's performance cannot be overstated. It's a film that keeps my viscera in tight suspension throughout its play and doesn't let up—even when it's over. I think when Kafka wrote his famous words about reading books that "wound and stab us," he was also projecting into the future about this film. This film indeed wounds and stabs, this film affected me like disaster, it grieved me deeply and was as close to an axe for the frozen sea inside me as any film I'd seen.

2 members like this review
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How do you spell tedium? This reminds me so much of all those films I had to sit through for my films classes. You know, when the professors were convinced that we were seeing great art and they revered every pan, every 18 second shot of candle was dripping. Oh, the days of great wallpaper drying contests. Truthfully, there are many beautiful scenes here, but it does seem so over stated today. I grew up thinking Scandanavians were like this all week and all went to the dirty movies and whore houses on Saturdays. A weird way to see a people

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A virtuoso performance by Per Oscarsson allows a ray of light into this dark and starkly unfolding drama. I can't think of a single camera angle or musical utterance that didn't enhance the bleakness of Pontus' dilemma. No matter how far he sinks nor what has lead to his madness you are pulling for him somehow. The setting in time and place, the incidental characters and the grainy black and white print contribute to an overall suffocating atmosphere. A masterful film that is as rewarding as it is trepadacious.

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wonderful totally odd crazy beautiful film_sort of a nightmare & fun at the same time_Pontus is always amazing and great _he's just nuts & odd and it's all so amazing_even the little flirtation with romance_so bizarre but all cool & beautifully shot

For a slow-paced and stark film, it holds you throughout. Nothing novel takes place, but the descent of the protagonist is palpable. The ending, for me at least, was apropos, as it was as random as life can so often be. Perhaps a damning social commentary, but also an apt telling of how small choices can have great repercussions.

I questioned, SPOILER, however, whether a woman of even modest means would have been as friendly to a man who wouldn't have bathed for many days and whose breath would have been horrid, and at first thought it was perhaps a hallucination. However, it was not presented in the same manner as were other scenes of that sort. A minor quibble though, and perhaps a misinterpretation.