In the House of Angels
Dei Mjuke Hendene

NORWAY / 1998 / Norwegian / Color / 35mm (1: 1.66) / 97 min

Director, Script: Margreth Olin
Photography: Svein Krøvel
Editing: Helge Billing
Music: Mike Scott (The Waterboys)
Sound: Ragnar Samuelsson, Håkon Lammetun
Producer: Thomas Robsahm
Production Company: Speranza Film AS
Source: Norwegian Film Institute
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Margreth Olin

Born in 1970 in Stranda, Sunnmøre. Studied at Universities of Oslo and Bergen, and took a degree in film and television production from Volda Regional College, specializing in documentaries. Co-owner of Speranza Films AS. Made her directorial debut, In the House of Love, in1994. Her award-winning My Uncle (1997) was nominated for an Amanda at the Norwegian International Film Festival in 1998. In the House of Angels is her first theatrical release.

The issue of how a person is able to pass through old age is, ultimately, bound to the question of how that person's life goals are realized. This is a difficult theme, conforming to personal point of view, encompassing such questions as social environment, religion and philosophy, and answers cannot easily be put forth. The one thing that can be said is that, after all, at the end of someone's life it is ideal to be able to ready the surroundings in accordance with that person's wishes. And yet the reality of it is harsh. In the House of Angels is set in a home for the elderly in Norway. The film records Einar, a man who lives there. For various reasons he is living separately from his wife, who also lives in the rest home. This is unsatisfactory to the couple who have spent sixty years of married life together. There is a profound gap between the wishes of those living in the home and the actual environment there.
The young director Margreth Olin, born in 1970, observes and films the fine details of the lives of the elderly from an unsentimental point of view. From start to finish, it is as though we are watching a drama. Finally, a personal but universal question is quietly but forcefully posed: To what extent can senior welfare offer those concerned places of tolerance? [Watabe Minoru]

Director's Statement
Why do people living in one of the richest countries of the world see their nation as poor? I have a theory.
Since we no longer know WHY we live, HOW we live becomes most important. The lack of God, if you want. Lack of spirit. Lack of reason.
Why are we here?
I am searching for symptoms. In the House of the Angels is one. We place old people in institutions. They are given small rooms with numbers on the doors. Death and old age are our last taboos.
What makes us human - our dreams, hopes, visions - we take with us to the grave. This should be the inheritance from our grandparents, the treasure being our roots.
What inheritance do the Norwegians carry with them?
I made this film to give old age a face - old age in all its splendor. I believe film can make people reflect, and put new content to words like community, love, family and hope.
When I saw Wiseman's films I decided not to become a farmer, but a filmmaker. I thought that if I can achieve moments of emotional truth like this, life will be meaningful. It will be a WHY, not a how. In the House of Angels is pointing at how we treat old people. Maybe that can explain the lack of WHY?

COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee