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  • Hunger [DVD] [1966] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Hunger [DVD] [1966] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: Danish, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GDH9KA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,381 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ArtsEater on 28 Oct. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
'Hunger' is based on Knut Hamsun's famous novel of the same name. We follow Pontus, a starving writer, around the streets of Christiania (now Oslo). He's in a constant search for food to assuage his ever-increasing hunger and he's also on a constant quest to get his writing published - primarily so that he can earn money to buy food and pay his rent. Although he has set-back after set-back, Pontus does have the occasional success when his work is published in the local newspaper and, as a result, he gets paid so that he can live a normal life for a short period.

Pontus is an annoyingly proud man. He pretends to the outside world that he is living a normal life. For example, he gives money away to beggars - money he so desperately needs himself so as to continue living. He is simply too proud to admit to others that he's starving and needs help. But all the while he manages to maintain his human dignity. A dignity so lacking in many of the people he meets.

It sounds bleak but the film is simply wonderful. It's an existential film. God has abandoned Pontus and has left him in a godless world to fend for himself. It's probably because of this that the film is shot in black & white - a black & white which captures the beautiful harshness of Christiania.

It is also a film that is both brilliantly directed & acted. It's possibly Henning Carlsen's (the director) masterpiece; and Per Oscarsson excels as Pontus. But the minor characters are equally well acted.

The DVD comes with 2 excellent interviews: one 35 minute interview with the director, Henning Carlsen and another 20 minute interview with the author, Paul Auster (who is interviewed by Hamsun's grandaughter). Both interviews (but especially the Auster one) provide valuable insights into the film.

'Hunger' is one of Auster's favourite films. And it is now one of mine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dag Stomberg on 14 Sept. 2013
Format: DVD
A film like nonesuch! From a "stream-of-consciousness" novel by Knut Hamsun published in the late

1880's with a story-line poignant today as it was then.

Writer-director Henning Carlsen and actor Per Oscarsson provide a first-person narrative with an

employment of free indirect discourse in its own subjective idiom. The film does offer spellbinding


Greatly recommended.

Dag Stomberg
St Andrews, Scotland
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By FROGNIER on 2 May 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Better than expected
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
115 minutes in Swedish with subtitles 9 Jan. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
This unforgettable film version of Knut Hamsun's great novel won the Best Actor award at Cannes. The story is told with revolutionary, disruptive movements from reality to myth as a young, talented writer wanders through an unidentified Scandinavian city during an autumn day in the late 1890s. Unable to sell any of his writings, he is reduced to a physical and moral state of abject suffering and near-madness [yet] somehow retains his sense of humor, intelligence, and a smattering of self-righteous dignity. Every contact with humanity emphasizes the writer's solitude and his gradual acceptance of life as a dream voyage. Per Oscarsson's portrait of despair and hallucinatory exaltation goes far beyond the boundaries of verisimilitude; it is known that he actually lived the role before shooting began, and what one beholds is the gaunt face of one artist dramatizing the plight of all artists who cry out for recognition, with only the symbol of their work to nourish their bodies and unfaltering spirit: it is one of the great film performances of all time.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
sublime 2 Jun. 2007
By Kirk Alex - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Talented Writer/Director Henning Carlsen does excellent work here, as does actor Per Oscarsson in lead
Fine adaption of what may be my favorite novel of all time, Knut Hamsun's HUNGER.
Waited decades to see this. Finally, when I noticed that the DVD was available on, I
got my copy.

Great novels don't always make great films; it's true--but this is that rarest of times when the film is actually as good (or, let's say...comes quite close.) That's high praise from me, because my belief has always been that no matter how terrific a filmed version of a fine novel is, it can never be as good as the book.

If you love Hamsun's beautifully written novel, you'll enjoy this remarkable film.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Great Film about a Great Book 16 Dec. 2004
By Oslo Jargo/Bartok Kinski - Published on
This, difficult to find film, merits close examination under the eyes of any reader of modernist literature. Written by Knut Hamsun and based entirely on his experiences of suffering, moral degradation, starvation and humiliation at the hands of the bourgeoisie of Oslo (Kristiana) whose petty values were mired in mockery, snobbish attitudes and haughtiness, truly explores the conscious soul of a writer. The director uses subtle techniques to introduce us to the Oslo of Hamsun's time, replete with arrogant shop owners, horse carriages and stupid followers of the Christian religion. For most of the film, the lead actor, played wonderfully by Per Oscarsson, who is still alive and making films at the age of 77, suffers starvation and yet he is truly determined to live his miserable existence. A gorgeous piece of art and redeemable film whose magnetic images are still important today.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Stunning 12 Feb. 2008
By lexo1941 - Published on
Format: DVD
Knut Hamsun's 1890 novel 'Hunger' is not, on the face of it, a promising candidate to be made into a masterpiece of world cinema film. For a start, it's a really good book, and books this good tend to become bad movies. The narrator, a down-at-heel intellectual and would-be genius, is scuffling around Christiania (now known as Oslo) in search of a lot of things, but mostly greatness, food, money and company, in descending order of importance. However, his pride is so enormous that he can't bear to accept charity from anyone, and so his acute physical hunger soon becomes his main sensation. It's the kind of novel that sensitive literary young men with no money always reckon they have in them somewhere, but which when written usually turns out to be a self-indulgent mess. Hamsun, practically alone among the species, got it right. The book is written with an extraordinary mixture of deep sympathy for its infuriating narrator, but also ironic objectivity about his capacity to be his own worst enemy.

So how do you make a movie out of a story that just follows this weird, obsessive, self-absorbed egotist around a nineteenth century city? One thing you do at the start is cast Per Oscarsson. The Norwegian actor gives the performance of a lifetime as the film's main character, who unlike in the novel is given a name - Pontus. Oscarsson, painfully thin, unshaven, bespectacled, dressed in a tight, shabby suit and perpetually carrying around a bundle of his unpublished manuscripts, is riveting. He moves in quick, sharp, hesitant motions like some kind of neurotic seabird, and he keeps up a constant little mumble to himself, a running commentary on how well his day is going and what he wants to do next and what he thinks of the people around him and the city and anything else that comes into his head. Pontus is visibly going mad with hunger.

It probably sounds like a deeply depressing film, but it's not. The black comedy of Pontus' encounters with people, his absurd attempt to present himself as a more successful and satisfied person than he really is, are what make this film so watchable. The only character in film that I could compare him to is David Thewlis' bitter lumpen-intellectual drifter Johnny in Mike Leigh's 'Naked', but Thewlis' character is more paranoid, bitter and selfish, sponging off everyone around him, while Pontus not only refuses to accept the slightest gesture of charity from anyone, he also refuses to feel sorry for himself. Ultimately, there's something weirdly noble about him.

It's a great performance in a great, haunting film, warmer than Bresson or Bergman and funnier than either.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant. Hunger for life. 3 May 2010
By vs - Published on
Format: DVD
This 1966 film is based on Knut Hamsun's 1890 novel with the same title; the director, Henning Carlsen, is still making movies in 2010. I haven't known his name before I watched "Hunger", now I'm planning to see his other movies, because this film is amazingly good. It's one of those very rare exceptions when the movie is comparable in quality to the book it's based upon, even though Hamsun's novel deservedly belongs to classics.

Per Oscarsson's and Gunnel Lindblom's amazing performance as two main characters in this film deserves highest recognition too, even though some credit in this case also due to the director, who brought them together in the film, as well as the many other excellent actors, be it in the secondary roles or extras.

Each and every scene in this film can be put on a poster - so beautiful it is graphically. Carlsen has perfect vision, aesthetically impeccable. His taste never fails him. It's very interesting to see, in particular, how the sexual encounter between two main characters is shown. One cannot ignore the fact that very modest scenes are much more human and natural and erotic here than whatever is produced in the Hollywood nowadays.

Hamsun was one of the first existentialist writers. The flim, created by Carlsen, is bigger than any particular genre of style or philosophical paradigm. It's about life itself, in all its complexity, and ugliness, and beauty. "Hunger" is one of the best movies I've ever seen.
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