Joachim Trier draws the portrait of the young woman on the run

The pangs of jet lag had spared the Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier, who had arrived the day before from New York in Oslo, this city of which he never seems to tire. Even through the filter of videoconferencing, the enthusiasm, energy and generosity of the director of Julie (in 12 chapters) were palpable.

This is all the more commendable since, since its triumph at the Cannes Film Festival last May, the trajectory of the last part of its trilogy on local fauna, after Reprise (2003) and Oslo, August 31 (2011), took him everywhere (this is the luck and lot of filmmakers who cannot entrust stars with the care of after-sales service). In this regard, Joachim Trier defends himself admirably well, thanks to his impeccable English and his genuine interest in his interlocutor.

This is not surprising, his humanism emanates from all his films, even those which move away – but not too much – from his bittersweet portraits of Olso’s youth, such as Thelma and Louder Than Bombsfor the moment its only American incursion. Julie (in 12 chapters), a true love letter to a city that is rarely part of the cinematic unconscious, reveals its charms, secret corners and peaks that give its characters the feeling of dominating the world. Or serious dizziness.

Julie (Renate Reinsve, winner of the Palme d’or for best actress) experiences all these intertwined feelings, thirty years old who will want to become a doctor, psychologist and photographer in turn, brutal changes for an entourage visibly accustomed to her whims. Julie’s indecisions are not only professional, she who subscribes to ephemeral relationships and more or less dangerous liaisons, dreaming of the arms of one when she snuggles into those of another. This is what will be confronted with Aksel (Anders Danielsen), a famous comic book creator in his forties, then Eivind (Herbert Nordrum), a barista met at a wedding where, obviously, Julie was not invited.

Some have compared his wanderings and his doubts to two of Antoine Doinel, the alter ego of François Truffaut. A comparison that Joachim Trier finds heavy to bear, seeing all the same a filiation with the director of stolen kisses and Marital home. “A lot of others have noted that I’ve done three movies with the same actor, Anders Danielsen Lie. We see him in his 20s, 30s and 40s; there lies the link with Truffaut, in my opinion. On the other hand, almost everywhere in Europe, we focus mainly on the portrait of a generation. And for each of them that I observe, I always look for something unique, as well as their ambivalences. »

Those who live in Julie are multiple, facing the world of work, motherhood, loving fidelity or filiation. A single scene reuniting her with her father, who has been only a shadow for her since birth and a monument of bad faith, seems to crystallize all the doubts of this young woman frightened by constraints. She also embodies, somewhat in spite of herself, what a filmmaker friend of Joachim Trier sees in all his films, this ” Bone-loneliness », this loneliness typical of the inhabitants of the capital.

“He always tells me, admiringly, that my films are ‘still’ about that! I admit that I really like the expression, and I would be tempted to make t-shirts out of it to write it on,” he says jokingly. In the same breath, he specifies that he has nothing of a sociologist, and that his relationship to the city as well as to its inhabitants is above all a filmmaker’s posture, seeking places that are evocative, romantic, or impressive to the point of overwhelm the characters in front of so many spaces to conquer.

Let the music

Not a sociologist, of course, but in his spare time… DJ. Even if he does not have the fame of David Guetta, Alan Walker or Calvin Harris – and is surprised that the journalist from Duty be aware! —, Joachim Trier spins the turntables on occasion, an activity not so far removed from his “real” job as a filmmaker. “I’m very interested in the dramaturgy of music, and I like to see how emotions can rise and fall [sur un plancher de danse]. My way of writing for the cinema is not so different, I refuse to consider screenwriting as a mechanical construction. I try to feel things and the intensity that emerges from the images. »

The musical influences of Joachim the DJ of course betray his age (he was born in 1974 in Copenhagen, Denmark), a lover of soul and post-disco from the early and mid-1980s, also fond of the sounds of Giorgio Moroder , formerly the ally of Donna Summer, today of Kylie Minogue, and of Brian de Palma for his scarfaceone of Trier’s favorite filmmakers.

During the hours when the crowd is under his control, did he take the opportunity to draw inspiration from people whose profile could be confused with that of Julie? “There are a lot of Julies, retorts Joachim Trier, but before observing them in my performances, I first had to find her inside myself, and with the help of my faithful co-screenwriter Eskil Vogt. Julie’s archetype is not only feminine, because there are so many men of this generation who feel the pressure of success, that of meeting the many expectations that society places on them, both professionally and the sentimental plane. »

The pressures, the filmmaker knows some of them since the international recognition of Julie (in 12 chapters) after its presentation at Cannes, and a slew of other prizes afterwards. At the time of our interview, he still did not know what path his film was going to take to the Oscars. The harvest was rather good with two nominations, that of the best foreign film and that of the best original screenplay. In one of the most touching moments of the relationship between his heroine and Aksel, his lover in his forties, the man, bruised, evokes the importance of culture through objects (including books and records), poignant speech tinged with a nostalgia in which the filmmaker recognizes himself. One or two statuettes to cherish? Joachim Trier would surely not say no.

Julie in all her states

Julie (in 12 chapters) (VF of The Worst Person in the World)


Drama by Joachim Trier. With Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum, Hans Olav Brenner. Norway, 2021, 127 minutes. Indoors.

To see in video

We want to thank the author of this article for this awesome content

Joachim Trier draws the portrait of the young woman on the run