Monday, March 25, 2013

A Hijacking at New Directors / New Films

A Hijacking tells the story of a hijacking. Somewhere in the Indian Ocean, in the recent past, Somali pirates have captured the MV Rozen, demanding $15 million in ransom. Back in Denmark, the shipping company's CEO must negotiate for the safe release of ship, cargo, and crew. It's a tight, incredibly tense movie.    

Pilou Asbaek (above, right) plays a cook who just wants to get home to his wife and tiny daughter. As we learned during the Q&A with director Tobias Lindholm, Asbaek gained 20 kilos for the role, then starved himself on set, losing 16 kilos in the process, so that his body would literally demonstrate the physiological stress of the kidnapping. But that wasn't the movie's only attempt at verisimilitude.

As it turns out, the ship used on screen had been hijacked several years ago, and the crew served as both extras and experts, advising the professional actors. Speaking of professionals, the man who plays the expert negotiator is a negotiator in real life, and many of his lines weren't scripted. The Somali pirates were actually Somali refugees in Kenya, whose clan leaders wanted them to participate in order to teach the young men about the evilness of piracy. And, finally, to create an especially fraught atmosphere, the lead actors were locked in a room, with no sense of when filming might begin. On stage, Lindholm, somewhat gleefully, mentioned that he would occasionally open the door to let in hundreds of flies. 

So we left the theater astonished, wondering how one becomes a negotiator (note to bosses: no, we're not interested in a career change; we're just curious), talking about the way the movie marries the two interlocking, increasingly similar story lines. Most of all, we buzzed about New Directors / New Films --- this series does exactly what film festivals should do: it brings the audience a movie it might not see otherwise, and the experience is often unforgettable.
Photo: thanks

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