Norway, Denmark


There are a lot of lies told about being a human being. Most lies are told about youth. But once we are grown up, we start missing it and look back. And we have lost the language, because youth has a language of its own. We dare not go and look for them, ask them who they are, where they are going. Youth is not ours anymore, that is why we lie about who they are.
The film follows students from the 10th grade at Hauketo Continuation School, East Oslo, during the last months before the exams. This is a new Norway. A new Europe. The classroom is the real UN. lt is the time of opportunity – when children from all around the world come together, and become each other’s best friends and sweethearts at an early age. The chance is now – if we wish and can – to take care of the school and the individual.

Director's Statement

At our first joint meeting, von Trier talked about the absence of the director, that the world cannot be confined or contained by a "story", and about emphasising what is also in defocus. The set of rules invoke honesty towards those who are in the film and towards those watching it. The latter, I believe, is nothing new. A documentary can never be better than the circumstances it is based on, the relation between those in front and behind the camera. A documentary is a journey through known and unknown landscapes. If you succeed, you were surprised on route and the film is created along the way and not at the desk before the shooting started. For what I find at the end of the rules is the following: Life in itself is enough. In all its beauty, comedy and cruelty. Life is dramatic enough, seductive enough. Time. And the ability to see the human being in a space. The moment in preference to the whole. The set of rules is like a fine-meshed net – another way of approaching reality. For what is the endeavour of documentarians if it is not discovering something that is real, something that is individually true. Because my truth is not your truth. The world is more fantastic than that. There is always someone who sees, someone who chooses and who opts out. The montage is the documentarian's primary tool.

I have made a different film. A film different from the ones I have done before. I have always cared for being brutally honest. This is another nudity. There is nothing in between you watching and what you watch. Apparently. Because the filmmaker’s narrative is invisible. And therefore reality comes through harder, more straightforward, without anyone pointing and guiding you. This film is created in the meeting between your prejudice and your ability to understand another person's feelings and to put oneself in his/her position.

But you must know one thing. The film is 80 minutes out of 120 hours of raw footage. However, it is not a lie.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Margreth Olin

Written by: Margreth Olin

Produced by: Carsten Holst, Karoline Leth, Thomas Robsahm

Cinematography: Kim Hiorthøy

Editing: Helge Billing

Nominations and Awards

  • European Documentary 2005