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Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves Lowest new price: $30.05
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When Bess, a naive young woman, marries Jan, a handsome oil-rig worker, she experiences passion and physical pleasure that she never imagined. Their bliss is cut short when an accident on the rig leaves Jan paralyzed. Believing he will never make love to Bess again, he tells her to take other lovers, convincing her that this will help his recovery. Bess is sent spiraling into a world of dark emotions she cannot understand

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Lakki...the Boy Who Could Fly

Lakki...the Boy Who Could Fly Lowest new price: $13.46
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List price: $19.95
Brand: Water Bearer Films

Abused by his gym teacher and his mother's current boyfriend, young Lakki can find no peace. He cannot turn to his father as the man is distant and uncaring. Instead a 14 year old find friends and harbor on the streets. He gets himself into trouble at school, starts playing with drugs, and tries to become a bully. He has no direction and no one to guide him. Even the friends he has made turn against him. It is only when things turn to the worst, and his fantasies are at their height does the real world finally reach in and save him from a tumble into the abyss of drugs and prostitution.

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Elling Lowest new price: $64.95
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Elling is a slyly funny odd couple about two misfits trying to find their places in the world. After living in a state home, Elling and his best friend Kjell are given their own apartment in the center of Oslo. The two find oddball ways to cope with society, striking up unlikely friendships in the strangest places.

This Norwegian comedy (nominated for an Academy Award®) concerns two men being released from a state home. Until the death of his mother, Elling rarely left the apartment where they lived; Kjell has lived in institutions most of his life and is obsessed with sex, as any virgin in his 30s might be. Thanks to a new social program, the two roommates are given an apartment in Oslo--if they can manage to live independently. At first simply answering the phone or buying groceries is a struggle, but as they taste freedom, their lives become an exciting adventure. In a Hollywood movie, these two would be cute goofballs; what makes Elling so very engaging is how genuinely awkward and uncomfortable Elling and Kjell are. Their difficulties in the world are treated with respect and realism, which makes their progress bracing and their success delightful. A charming film. --Bret Fetzer


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Insomnia (The Criterion Collection)

Insomnia (The Criterion Collection) Lowest used price: $6.51
Brand: Image Entertainment

Disgraced Swedish detective Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård) travels to northern Norway to solve a brutal murder in Insomnia. Unable to sleep through the night of the midnight sun, Engström quickly loses his grip on the case and his mind. Erik Skjoldbjærg's debut feature is a deft amalgam of psychological thriller, morality play, and police procedural. Criterion presents the DVD premiere of Insomnia in a new widescreen transfer.

This 1997 film from Norway and neophyte director Erik Skjoldbjærg delivers the goods with unsettling effectiveness. It's an intense, smart, and taut thriller if only because what it eerily implies is creepier than the film's reality. Opening with a churning, chilling murder of a young woman, Insomnia invites the viewer--as well as its protagonist, celebrated Oslo homicide cop Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård)--into the mind and thoughts of a killer by making Engström fatally flawed himself. While in pursuit of the murderer, Engström makes a mistake; he accidentally shoots his partner and friend and covers up his deed in a panic. But he overlooks a minor detail: the real killer has seen him commit the crime. What ensues is a layered, complex, and unnerving descent into chaos, brought on by the inability to sleep in this land of the midnight sun. Engström suffers from insomnia, which warps his logic and resolve, and before long he's totally unraveled and unsure of his every move. But not before a twisty transference and countertransference occurs between cop and killer. The two play a game of high-stakes one-upmanship that surprises in the end. Insomnia is fresh and psychologically bent, full of Scandinavian despair and dark humor, and it boasts a film noir pulse beneath its blinding light. --Paula Nechak

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Sebastian Lowest new price: $13.46
Lowest used price: $13.36
List price: $19.95

Sebastian is a typical teenager. He hangs out with this friends, goes to the movies, buys hip clothes and attends school. Typical that is until a chance stolen kiss changes everything. Sebastian is just figuring out what almost everyone else around him already knows, he is gay. The kiss is between him and his best buddy Ulf and not only does it change everything it awakens passions that Sebastian never even knew he had. At first terrified, Sebastian slowly learns tha the lives in a wonderful world where his parents are accepting, his sister loves him for who he is and you never know.. Ulf may even want to try at that kiss again.....

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Sofie Lowest new price: $28.88
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Adapted from a 1932 Danish novel, SOFIE tells the tale of a young Jewish woman in the Copenhagen of the 1880s. At 28, Sofie (Karen-Lise Mynster) is unmarried and fills her days with books. Longing for a man in her life, Sofie finally embarks on an affair with Hojby, a dashing, intelligent artist. Her parents, unable to accept a gentile into the family, instead push her into a marriage with her dimwitted piano-playing cousin, Jonas. Giving up her youthful dreams of true love, she follows her parents' wishes to find that hardship is a recurrent theme in her life. Liv Ullman's directorial debut is ripe with beautiful photography and emotional resonance.

The Polar Bear King

The Polar Bear King Lowest new price: $14.99
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The air is filled with joy as the newly crowned King Valemon is set to begin his benevolent rule over the enchanted kingdom of Summerland; a land of temperate climates and lush landscapes where flowers bloometernal. But when the handsome young King refuses the marriage proposal of an evil sorceress, she casts a cruel spell upon him, transforming him into a gigantic polar bear. To escape the sinister forces of darkness, the Polar Bear King flees Summerland and seeks refuge in the icy lands of the north. It is in this frozen, desolate landscape he meets a young princess. The princess is able to see the inner goodness of Valemon, despite his ferocious exterior, and the two quickly fall in love. The Princess and the Polar Bear King return to Summerland where they are married. But evil still lurks in Summerland, and it will be up to the beautiful princess to defeat the evil witch, thwart her dark schemes and reverse the icy spell of The Polar Bear King.

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The Last Lieutenant

The Last Lieutenant Lowest used price: $28.95
List price: $19.95


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Cool & Crazy: On the Road

Cool & Crazy: On the Road Lowest new price: $14.95
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In his 2001 documentary Cool and Crazy, Norwegian filmmaker Knut Erik Jensen introduced us to a group of men from a small fishing village in Norway who find purpose, companionship and even fame as members of the Berlevåg Male Choir. Now in the sequel, COOL & CRAZY ON THE ROAD, we witness this group of Scandinavian singers encounter a nation in mourning as they cross the Atlantic for their first U.S. tour, only 3 weeks after the tragedy of September 11th.

The Berlevåg Male Choir is a group of about 30 fishermen--the youngest age 30, the oldest in his 90s--from a little village on the banks of the Barents Sea with a practically uninterrupted view all the way to the North Pole. Their harsh lifestyle has made these men resolute and strong natured. When the men arrive in post 911 America, their fortitude is a source of inspiration for the fragile people they encounter. As the men tour the country singing, they bring hope and wisdom to their audiences through timeless songs of faith and joy that touch all those they meet. They also find fun, cutting a swath across America in their tour bus--sightseeing in New York City, dancing in the streets at a Hollywood party, sharing trade secrets with fishermen in Cape Cod, and touring Elvis' recording studio in Memphis.

Cool & Crazy was one of Norway's most popular films in recent years. It was voted one of the 'Best of the Festival' at the Edinburgh Film Festival where The Guardian called it "The best movie about music since Buena Vista Social Club." It made its U.S. premiere at the Chicago Film Festival, then opened in Los Angeles and New York, and played in Minneapolis, Washington DC and elsewhere during the Choir's U.S. tour.


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Cool & Crazy

Cool & Crazy Lowest new price: $59.98
Lowest used price: $14.93
List price: $14.95

Much as Buena Vista Social Club revealed a rich and unexplored world of music and culture, Cool & Crazy introduces us to a group of men who find purpose, companionship and even fame, as members of the Berlevåg Male Choir in Norway. From singing above precipitous cliffs during a raging snowstorm, to the backstage maneuverings on their Russian tour, Cool & Crazy revels in the spirit of these rugged men as they bare their souls through songs of faith and hope.

The Berlevåg Male Choir, the unlikeliest of movie stars, is a group of 30 or so fisherman--the youngest at age 30, the oldest in his 90s--from a little village on the northernmost coast of Europe on the banks of the Barent sea which has a practically uninterrupted view of the North Pole.

In Cool & Crazy one of Norway's most experienced directors, Knut Erik Jensen, captures this otherworldly environment in a majestic and profound manner. We witness the lives of a group of stout-hearted men, perched above the edge of the Barent Sea, facing the unforgiving onslaught of icy Arctic waves, dressed for their 'engagements' in navy suit jackets, black bow ties and white sailors caps. For some, this will be a film about men, for others it will be about love, or politics, or fish. Above all it is about the beauty and dignity of ordinary lives lived under extreme circumstances.

Cool & Crazy has enjoyed incredible success in its native Norway, where over half a million people have seen it. It was voted 'Best of the Festival' at the 2001 Edinburgh Film Festival-- The Guardian called it "The best movie about music since Buena Vista Social Club." Cool & Crazy made its US premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival, where it won the Gold Hugo Award for Best Documentary, before opening in theatres around the country to great critical acclaim.


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