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TrustNordisk Sells ‘Loveable’ Globally; Director Urges Connection: ‘I Need You’

TrustNordisk has successfully sold “Loveable” to Estin Film for Lithuania and Estonia, Cinemania Group for the former Yugoslavia, and September Film for Benelux. Directed by Lilja Ingolfsdottir in her feature film debut, “Loveable” premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival on Tuesday.

The production, led by Thomas Robsahm, known for “The Worst Person in the World,” and Nordisk Film Production, has already received accolades, picking up the Best Nordic Project Award at the Finnish Film Affair last September.

“I wanted to see how far I could go and how brave I could be,” Ingolfsdottir shared with Variety. She emphasized the emotional availability and transparency required from everyone involved in the project. According to the director, viewers have described the film as more than just an experience, but rather a transformative journey.

The story centers around Maria, played by Helga Guren, who is taken aback when her husband Sigmund, portrayed by Oddgeir Thune, requests a divorce. This shocking revelation leads Maria to confront her deepest traumas and fears.

The film also stars Heidi Gjermundsen Broch and Marte Solem. Ingolfsdottir addresses the complex nature of relationships, pointing out that many traditional love stories overlook the underlying issues leading to high divorce rates. She noted that every crisis is an opportunity for self-awareness and personal growth. For Maria, accepting and dialoguing with her pain becomes a powerful transformation.

Frustrated by the stereotypical portrayals of women in films, Ingolfsdottir aimed to create a flawed and multilayered character in Maria. “I just wanted to have a flawed, multilayered female character who is a human being like all of us. She’s empowering herself by looking at her dysfunctionality and she’s brave enough to acknowledge her patterns. She doesn’t need superpowers.”

Maria’s journey is also about admitting her need for others. “It’s brave to say: ‘I need you.’” Ingolfsdottir underscores the importance of connections, emphasizing that true connection with others starts with connecting with oneself.

While not directly autobiographical, Ingolfsdottir revealed that “Loveable” reflects some of her own struggles. “It’s not based on my real life, but I am definitely using my experience as well. For me, art and my own self-exploration is the same process. I can’t separate these things. Plain storytelling has never interested me.”

One significant inspiration for “Loveable” came from an experimental short film she made in 2018, titled “Show Me Your Original Face Before Your Mother and Father Were Born.” In this experiment, she invited 30 strangers to say the sentence “I love myself” to the camera. The diverse reactions, ranging from the desire to escape to shedding tears, laid the groundwork for Maria’s story in “Loveable.”

A poignant scene in the film features Maria looking into a mirror and uttering the words, “I love myself.” Ingolfsdottir describes this as an intimate act that deeply affects the audience, often leading them to an emotional breakdown. She remarks on society’s fear of intimacy and connection, coupled with a deep-seated need for both.

Source: Variety