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Official visit to Mexico: Opening of Norwegian Film Week

Speech given by His Royal Highness The Crown Prince launching the cooperation between the Norwegian and the Mexian Film Institutes, 17 March 2009.

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

The great film director Federico Fellini said films are like dreams. Both the cinema and our dreams speak to us in a powerful language made up of images and pictures, an idiom that is at once universal and intensely personal. Perhaps this explains why film has such a strong appeal as an artistic medium. Like a vivid and memorable dream, a good film will make us laugh or cry, it will give us fresh insights into ourselves and help us better understand our fellow human beings and the world we live in. Moreover, cinematic art also represents freedom: the director’s freedom of expression, our freedom to make our own interpretations and judgements – our freedom to dream.

The Norwegian Film Institute and the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía (IMCINE) have a lot in common. Not only are they led by two young women, Nina Refseth and Marina Stavenhagen, they also have administrative structures and national responsibilities that almost mirror each other. In their task of securing a stable foundation for a vibrant and creative film industry, they clearly face the same challenges. We live in a complex world, and it is becoming more and more important to enhance awareness of shared values and communities of interest. To this end, international contacts and cooperation in the field of art and culture are among our most valuable tools. I hope this is the beginning of a sustainable collaboration between the two institutions.

At the prestigious Guadalajara International Film Festival, starting later this week, there will be a special Norwegian programme called “Noruega hoy” where a number of recent Norwegian films will be shown. There will also be a seminar under the auspices of the Norwegian Film Institute and IMCINE. Here film producers and film makers from Norway and Mexico will discuss matters of interest to the film communities in both countries and to explore the possibilities for closer collaboration and joint undertakings in the future.

During the past 10 years, the professional film community and ordinary cinema-goers in Norway have followed with interest the careers and artistic achievements of the brilliant directors and actors of “el nuevo cine mexicano”. We have seen and admired films like “Amores Perros”, “Y tu Mamá también”, “El Crimen de Padre Amoro” and “Luz Silenciosa” – just to mention a few. Hopefully, the meetings and events taking place during the coming week in Guadalajara and here in Mexico City will help to bring more Mexican films to Norway and vice versa.

It is only over the past few decades that Norwegian film makers have in earnest started to make their mark internationally. Now there is actually talk of a new Norwegian wave, with prize-winning films that have been acclaimed by critics and appreciated by audiences in many countries. We hope the audiences at the festival in Guadaljara and at the Filmoteca and the Cinemateca will enjoy the programmes that have been put together, and that the films will challenge, move and entertain.

This afternoon you will get an idea of what to expect in Guadalajara and in Mexico City by watching “The Kautokeino Rebellion” by Nils Gaup. The film is based on a true story. The events you will see took place in 1852 but are still painfully remembered by the Sami people of Norway. The film’s core themes are those of indigenous self-determination and the Sami’s fight for their fundamental rights and freedoms. These are also the themes that will be discussed in depth at the bilateral seminar at the National Museum of Anthropology this Wednesday.

I hope you will enjoy the film.


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