Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Footnote to a Shout from Copenhagen in Absinthe 14 by Thomas E. Kennedy

In Absinthe 14 (Autumn 2010), my Shout from Copenhagen, “A Visit to Hunger 120 Years Later” was carried on pages 81-2. I had written the column shortly after having viewed, for perhaps the tenth time, Henning Carlsen’s 1966 film version of Knut Hamsun’s extraordinary novel from the late 19th century, Hunger. Particularly striking about Carlsen’s film was the magical performance of Per Oscarsson, the Swedish actor who played the starving character from the novel and who also played in the more recent film versions of the very popular Stieg Larsson books..

A tragic and macabre footnote to this tale of a visit to a book inspired by the capital city of Norway: On December 30th, 2010, at the age of 83, Oscarsson burned to death with his wife in their isolated home in the Swedish countryside. The wind was so violent that night that it blew away the smoke which might otherwise have awakened Oscarsson and his wife. The house burnt so completely that nothing was left standing but the chimney, and the authorities had to sift through the ash for days before finding remains of the Oscarssons.

Oscarsson's masterful performance from 1966 lives on.

Greetings from the ancient kingdom!

Thomas E. Kennedy (www.thomasekennedy.com)

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