Norway’s Dawn Gets Post-Apocalyptic With Two Clips And A Trailer

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Grim, post-apocalyptic films are everywhere, which, if you’re psychologically minded, probably says something rather interesting about our collective state of mind. I read an essay once about how these types of films and pieces of speculative fiction tend to crop up when we, as a species, have serious, grounded fears about the future of our world (they were big at the height of the Cold War, again in the early 1980s, when tensions were high between Russian and Reagan, and if you’ve been paying attention this summer, there are quite a few, like The Rover, Snowpiercer, and The Hunger Games). This has never been a purely American phenomenon—the most famous post-apocalyptic films have to be George Miller’s Mad Max movies. Norway is even getting in on the act now with Anders Elsrud Hultgreen’s Dawn (Morgenrøde), which has a new trailer and two sparse clips.

To be honest, calling this a trailer, which we came across over at Twitch, is a bit generous. Then again, calling it a teaser may also be too kind. This video is comprised of a single long take where you don’t really see or learn anything substantial. What it does, however, is set a mood. This has all of the things you expect. The setting is hazy and drab, bleak, and the primary sound is the wind blowing across the deserted wasteland. One thing you’ll probably appreciate is that instead of the bright, washed out, scorched earth look of so many films in this genre, they went with a darker, more dour visual approach.

Here’s a brief synopsis that doesn’t tell you much:

Morgenrøde (English title: Dawn) is a mythological desert post-apocalypse film about faith, worldview, the beyond and the doomed delirious struggle against dehydration in a water polluted world years after a global fall.

One thing you can always count on in a post-apocalyptic movie is that at some point a mysterious stranger is going to show up and complicate things. He’ll have something you need or want, but you can never be quite sure if you can trust him or not, or if he has more sinister motives.

There’s also a strange Lord of the Rings feel to this extended clip. More than likely it has a lot to do with the bluish color palate, the bulky capes that hide the figures wearing them, and the unusual way the frame is tilted. One of these men is also on a mission, though you don’t know for what, or who sent him. Could be a wizard, we don’t know.

Clip number two shows off the same canted frames and hand held camera work, an almost verite style that makes you feel like a fly on the wall, despite the fact that there are no walls to be seen. Fly on the rock doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily.

Water always plays in important part in movies of this ilk (even if it does look like coffee that someone just poured creamer into), and it’s telling that environmental change has largely replaced large-scale nuclear conflict as the post-apocalyptic delivery system in recent days.

Overall, you don’t really learn much about Dawn, but you get a definite sense of tone and place, and it looks strange enough that it could prove to be quite an interesting adventure into the futuristic wastelands. There’s no word on when we might see this other than 2014, but it does star Ingar Helge Gimle, who also appears in Tommy Wirkola’s upcoming Nazi zombie flick Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead.



  1. Øystein Runde says:

    I’ve followed his work since he was a young art student. It’s like he’s trying to distill what makes a movie feel enormous. Sometimes I think he just makes trailers for imaginary movies, just to create that anticipation, the amazing feeling of a trailer. This, a bigger film, seems like a natural expansion of his art projects, pure explorations of mood.

    I was guest teaching comics at art school in Lofoten, Norway. He was very eager for me to draw a poster for his black metal/noise/art music concert, so I quickly made something. Then the night of the concert came, and he performing alone, in a white suit like a nuclear engineer, in a locked room, full of smoke, while the audience looked at him through a window from an adjacent room. The concert was completely fantastic. I was filled with awe at how this kid basically had found his voice so clearly so early, how amazingly good the art and film school in Lofoten was for these students, and of course I was rather embarrassed at my bad drawing.

    He’s very genuinely following his artistic sensibilities. I find his film work somewhat of a filmic equivalent of the band SunnO)))))) – but on top of that he shamelessly steals tricks from commercial culture, in other words, he incorporates Hollywood aesthetics (like the Spawn-inspired superhero mythology behind his RAKO video) – but takes away the “meaning” of it and only leaves the vibe of grandeur, the thick icing of “importance” that Hollywood movies put on top of all kinds of old tired dramas – Hultrgreen has so far taken away the dramas and tried to present only pure icing. The slightly cheesy “this is an entertainment movie, except there will be no explosions” vibe is a classic film school problem … students who try to make big budget feelings with no money. But Hultgreen’s turned that into the point of his whole production – and done it so purely that I’ve never seen anything similar – at least as far as I know it, in the Norwegian art scene. The faux pretentiousness and grave seriousness presented by a young man with a strong sense of humor (in private) is very much similar to the black metal music scene.

    I wonder if this film will be adding something resembling a script or a story, or if his content will remain minimalistic (and fake maximalistic at the same time). The dialogue doesn’t seem to be too full of … anything, other than the most primal needs … fear, desire to connect, thirst. So I find it promising. Hultgreen’s voice is deepening, but it’s still the same voice.

    Oh, and sorry if this sounds like an ad. I’m an actual human being and I’m not getting paid for this. It’s completely spontaneous and heartfelt, and just a reaction to the fact that I like these clips. And I like how he’s growing. All this being said and done, I think he should use this web comment in its entirety as an essay in one of those pretentious exhibition text catalog thingies, he’s in the art world and I’m sure he exhibits all the time. I can’t imagine anyone but me really cares about his stupid artistic integrity, no-one really cares about anyone’s artistic integrity, that’s what I told myself when I made that shitty drawing for him.

    Luckily, I’m sometimes wrong.