TIFF 2014: 1001 Grams
Prominent Norwegian filmmaker Bent Hamer returns to the festival in the Masters program with his latest film 1001 Grams. The film isn’t about drugs, but the premise is equally fascinating. Marie (Ane Dahl Torp) dedicates her life to measurements, carefully maintaining Norway’s national kilo at the perfect kilogram weight, the standard unit for which all other measurements in the country are based from. Her life is extremely structured and rigorous, rarely deviating from her daily routine and only showing emotions when it’s practical. Marie’s co-workers share the same monotonous personality. Even pick-up lines fall within their limited purview – “Do you prefer to wash before weighing the kilo?”
1001 Grams doesn’t come across quite as serious the characters seem to be trying so hard to make it. Witty puns and weight metaphors make the film surprisingly funny at times. Hamer neatly assembles each frame of the film in a way fitting the particularities of its characters’ sensibilities, but it’s so slow-moving that it feels over-calculated. By the time a love story develops later into the film, the pace has already led to plenty of clock-watching. While the message behind 1001 Grams is valuable–that no matter how scientific one’s approach to love, it simply can’t be measured on a scale–the film is equally scientific in its formula leading to predictable outcomes, though at an unfortunately slow pace.