Ibsen in Weimar Cinema
Centre for Ibsen Studies announces the first ever cinema screening of Victor Barnowsky’s Peer Gynt (1919) in Norway. The film will be introduced by Thor Holt from the Centre for Ibsen Studies. A discussion will follow after the screening.
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About the film
Peer Gynt (1919) was produced before, but premiered after Germany’s military and moral defeat in World War I. The famous theater director Victor Barnowsky teamed up with star producer Richard Oswald in order to turn the most popular Ibsen play in Germany into a silent film. Some of the top stars in what should be known as Weimar cinema joined them. Conrad Veidt (a strange passenger and the button-moulder) soon performed the iconic role as the somnambulist in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). Ilka Grüning (mother Aase) is perhaps most famous for her role in Casablanca (1942).
Barnowsky’s Ibsen adaptation was originally launched in two parts: Peer Gynts Jugend og Peer Gynts Wanderjahre und Tod. «Peer Gynt surpasses the so-called average production by far, and it will find a grateful audience. Not to mention that it will become a box-office hit anyway because of its world-famous title,» critic B. von Joachim predicted in Der Film in April 1919. What did the German audience see in 1919 that we cannot see or grasp today? Peer Gynt misfired both commercially and ideologically; Barnowsky never made a film again.
Peer Gynt (1919) was found by EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam—the national, Dutch film archive. A couple of years ago, a new digital restoration from the original nitrate copy was carried out by the National Library of Norway. The first public screening of the film was at the National Library in 2017. Peer Gynt is screened at a cinema (in DCP quality) for the first time at Oslo16 this Monday.
The National Library has translated the Dutch intertitles into English. Thanks to Beta Film for permission to screen the film.
The exclusive screening is made possible in cooperation with the National Library of Norway and the film centre Oslo16.
Running time: 58 minutes
Original title: Peer Gynts Jugend and Peer Gynts Wanderjahre und Tod
Produced: Germany, 1918
Directed by: Victor Barnowsky