Hunger (1966) - full transcript

In 1890, Pontus, the starving writer, wanders the streets of Christiania, in search of love and a chance to get his work published. All he meets is defeat and suffering while his sense of reality is withering. One moment his is delighted and the next he curses everybody. All the time he manages to maintain human dignity and pride.


based on a novel by





adaptation: PETER SEEBERG

director of photography: HENNING KRISTLANSENdff
art director costumes: ERIK AAES ADA SKOLMEN





I'll come and buy up the lot
at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

A little treat
for a couple of children I know.


No, I've no time to talk to you.
Talk to each other instead.

Are you here?

Did they take you on?

They only want people
who have passed exams.

As long as you're a master of this
and a bachelor of that -

- it doesn't matter a damn
whether you've got talent or not.

Bookkeeper at a grocer's.
Why not?



- Coming to have something to eat?
- No, I'm not really hungry.

But I'll keep you company.

Listen, I'll come round one day
and look at your painting, eh?

Do you have to sit on this bench?

What do you say?

I'm accustomed to being alone
on this bench when I'm working -

- so I would prefer you to leave.
I don't wish to be disturbed.

You needn't go straight away!

What are you doing here?

Would you be so kind
as to tell me the time?

Two o'clock.

It's ten!

- It's two!
- You're wrong, it's ten!

You'd better re-set your watch,
my good man!


No glasses!


Mr. Christie's Grocery. With
reference to your advertisement...

Hi, there! Boy! Come here!

Run into the grocer's with this!
I'll give you a tip another day!

Off you go!

Excuse me...
What's the time?

- Half past three.
- Fine! I can hear you know your job.

You're dropping your book, miss.

You're dropping your book, miss.

What book is he talking about?
I haven't got a book!

Never mind him, he's drunk.
You can see he's drunk!



At last!

Come in!

My Darling!

How heavily she's breathing!

As you see...
Rubies everywhere!

Her eyes are like ambre.

Come to me. Come!

That red, soft silken Divan!

Kiss me!

Kiss me!

Her lips are glowing.

Up you get!

I'm sorry.

Don't forget your hat!

Of course. I'm sorry.
I thought I'd forgotten something.

Move along then!

No, I don't talk to shoes, I said.

Talk to one another instead.

You must leave tomorrow.
Cordially yours, Mrs. Gundersen.


Five... five crowns.

Ten... ten!
A bargain at the price!

If you're thanking God,
then thank him from me as well!

I wrote my first masterpiece
here. 28th Oct. 1890. K.P.

Then you move in the course
of the morning!

I place my future in your hands!

And I shall put it down again.

Why don't you go home to the
country. You've no need to stay here.

- AIl right, I'll go.
- Yes, please.

Would you be so kind as
to wrap this up for me?

Thank you ever so much.

Be careful! There are a couple
of valuable vases inside.

I've inherited them.

I'm sending them to Smyrna.

Thank you, thank you! I'm most
grateful to you for your kindness!


Perhaps he'll come
this afternoon?

No fixed hours here. Certainly not
for the editor. Try again at 3 o'clock.

Could I put it
on the editor's desk myself?

- Or will you take it?
- Put it on the pile over there.

Are these manuscripts?
All of them?

What's come in today.

- And you get this many every day?
- We do.

How can I be sure the editor
will read my article?

Excuse me. I said, how can I be sure
the editor will read it?

He reads everything.
Come back at 3 o'clock!


You here?

Yes, I always have a little walk
in the mornings...

How are things?

I'm working for Christie's,
the wholesale people. Bookkeeping!

It's alright, you know.

What have you got here?

Some cloth bought at Semb's.
Can't neglect one's looks completely!

I beg your pardon.

- Do you know him?
- Barely.

She's his latest conquest.
She's married.

Let me recommend you my tailor,
Isaksen. Nobody like him!

Just say I sent you.

May I remind you that you
owe me 10 crowns? Good-bye!


Just a few coppers...
To buy some milk.


Money is a little hard to come by,
and I don't know if you're deserving.

I haven't eaten since yesterday
in Drammen, and I'm broke.

I haven't found work yet.

- Are you an artisan?
- Yes, a welt binder.

A welt binder.
I can make shoes too.

I see.
Well, that's different.

It's rather an unfortunate moment
of the day to ask.

It would have been better
after 3 o'clock -

- but just a moment
and I'll see what I can do.

- One crown.
- I'd counted on one and a half.

If it hadn't been getting a bit small
for me, I shouldn't have parted with it.

Of course not.

There you are.
I'm glad you applied to me first.

You've acquired the unpleasant
habit of staring at people's knees -

- when they give you a coin.

Take the blasted money, now
I've had all the trouble getting it!

Perhaps I owe you this sum
for all I know.

Please realize you are talking
to a thoroughly honest person.

Pick it up, before somebody
more deserving than you does!

There you are.

Excuse me.
I had a pencil in my pocket -

- in the waistcoat
I left with you this morning.

You'd better look yourself.

Here we are.

Of course it would never occur
to me to go to all this trouble -

- for the sake of any old pencil.
But this one had a story attached to it.

It has helped me make a name
for myself in the world.

It's the pencil I wrote my thesis
on philosophy with. In 3 volumes.

- Perhaps you know it?
- I know of it.

Well, I'm the author, so don't be
surprised at my being fond of it.

I almost regard it as a little person.
Thank you so much!

I shall remember you!
I'm that sort of person, see?

Thank you.

The Morning Post will start
a course in French lip-reading.

You will now see a number
of photographs of the mouth -

- when saying
the passionate words:

Je vous aime.
I love you.


Excuse me.
Mr. Christie?

I sent a message
with a letter -

- about a vacancy
for a bookkeeper.

I don't know whether it will
have served any purpose?

Well now, your handwriting
is nice enough -

- but you seem to be
a bit careless with figures.

You've dated your letter 1848.

Even you aren't that old!

Oh, have I? A slight error,
a moment's distraction...

But I need a man who never
makes mistakes with figures.

Your handwriting is very clear.
And it's a good letter, but...

Yes, a pity.
Of course it won't recur.

A tiny slip like this doesn't prove
I'm not a good bookkeeper.

I'm not saying it does.

But it means so much to me
that I've decided on somebody else.

You mean the job is taken?

Then there's nothing more
to be said!

- I'm sorry.
- Bye.

- Yes?
- Excuse me, my carriage is waiting.

- Colonel Schinkel?
- No. Why?

Doesn't Colonel Schinkel live here?
Sorry! I had a small cannon for him.


I was to fetch a parcel
for a young musician named Grieg.

But I don't understand...
It must be here, I'm certain of it.

We've got nothing today!

I'm sorry I rang so loudly,
I don't know the bell here...

An invalid gentleman advertised
for a man to push his chair.

A Mr. Hojbjerg.

There's no Mr. Hojbjerg here.

An elderly gentleman? 2 hours'
wheeling a day at 40 cents per hour.

Then it must be on the first floor.
I'm sorry. I only wanted -

- to recommend a man I know
who has a philanthropic outlook.

My name is Wedel-Jarlsberg.
I beg your pardon.

Excuse me, I wonder if I could
have a small bone for my dog?

There doesn't have to be
any meat on it.

Where would we be?

Have you seen that fellow?

Damnation! Is there nothing
one may keep for oneself?


Excuse me.
May I help you?

What's the time?

Five to three.

Five to three?

I should have known!
This is really too silly.

- Do you thank your God?
- That I do.

Then thank him warmly
from me too.

In 5 minutes
I'll be a happy man.

And God has done this for me,
I must see if it's...


The editor has been in
but won't be back again today.

Did he read my article?

- What did he say?
- Come back tomorrow after 3.

- What's the matter?
- He wants instant payment.

You must come back tomorrow at
the same time. Do you need money?

Not at all, it's just that I'm leaving
for Denmark soon, to finish a book.

Let's hope you don't leave till
the editor has read your article.

Come on. We can always have
a cup of coffee.

Good evening.
Oh, it's you!

I came to see your picture.

Am I disturbing you?

Oh no! It's just that
it must be seen by daylight...

Why the blazes do you have
to come in the evening?

- Can't I see it anyway?
- There's not enough light.

Besides, I've got a girl with me,
so it's not so good.

I understand. Of course I won't
disturb you then. Thanks!

- Have you got anywhere to stay?
- Oh yes.

Would you like to join us?

No thank you, we're on our way.

Come on!
Hurry up.

We'll take a cab.

I'm a little indisposed.

But tomorrow I shall be
the happiest person in the world!

Tell her that from me!

Say I'll be coming tomorrow!
I'll be coming tomorrow.

Very nice, eh?

Let me have 50 cents
for these glasses, I'll redeem them...

They're only steel-rimmed.

I can't take them.

No, it was only a joke.

But I've got a quilt here
I don't really need.

- I thought I might just as well...
- No!

- It's the worn side...
- It wouldn't fetch 10 cents anywhere.

The glasses as well... 25 cents.

It's no use.

My hat!
That's worth something.

- You cannot part with your hat.
- Yes! I'd part with my trousers, if...

Five crowns.

Today is the big day.

Stick it for a few more hours,
till 3 o'clock!

You're not afraid, are you?

I mean to say, a parcel like that
is a terrible temptation.

Know the term "gentleman thief"?

It's a rich man who dresses
in rags and steals for pleasure.

Once a man has got what he can
with the help of money -

- he's willing to get whatever
he can without.

May I offer you a cigarette?

- You're not from Christiania?
- No. Yes, of course I am.

Where do you live?

No. 2, St. Olaf's Place.

No. 2?

I once knew everybody at no. 2.

Who's your landlord?


A sailor, isn't he?

No, you must be thinking of the
brother. This is J. A. Happolati.

Very clever fellow, isn't he?

Yes, fantastic. Ever heard of
the electric hymnbook he invented?

The letters are electric and shine
so that you can sing in the dark.

Yes, big concern, worth millions.
Big jute mills, printing-shops...

- I think he employs 700 people.
- 700?

You should see his daughter, Ylajali.

A fairy, a princess!

She lies on a couch of yellow roses.
Three hundred slaves!

I swear I've never seen a more
beautiful person in my life!

She's lovely, wickedly lovely!

When she looks at me,
it's like a stream of wine -

- that penetrates straight
into the phosphorus of my soul.

Every glance is like a kiss. Why
the devil shouldn't she be beautiful?

Do you think she's somebody
in the Fire Brigade?

Or a female debt collector?

No, she's one of the glories
of the heavens. A saga!

He owns a lot of property, eh?

I don't know anything about that.

Kindly remember that his name is
Johan Ahrend Happolati -

- judging by the initials.

Johan Ahrend Happolati?

You should see his wife! Fattest
woman in the world, so help me God.

Don't you believe she's fat?

Oh, I dare say. A man like that
probably has a fat wife.

Hell's bells, do you think I'm filling
you with a pack of lies?

Perhaps you don't believe
there's a man called Happolati?

I never thought I'd find so much
nasty spitefulness in an old man.

Do you think I'm a little louse
sitting here in my best clothes?

That I haven't got a fine case
full of cigarettes, eh?

I'm not accustomed to your sort.
I won't tolerate it -

- from you or from anybody else.
Understand? Take your parcel!

Give me a sign.

O Lord!

Where to, sir?

Many places. First, no. 48
Norrby Street. I have to meet a man.

I have to meet a gentleman there.
A wool-dealer.

We have a lot of business
to do together.

Wait here a moment.

Mr. Kierulf, the wool-dealer?

I was to meet him.
Joachim Kierulf?

But my dear woman!

Well, that's how
people are nowadays.

He wasn't there.

Wasn't he?

Drive to no. 7
Rebslager Street.

They've sent for me.
Something dreadful has happened.

I'll be back in a minute.


- Excuse me. Do you have a room?
- For how long?

Probably for quite a long time.
Perhaps permanently.

I'm an author,
so I want a quiet room.

Well, this is excellent.

- Have you a candle as well?
- You have to provide that yourself.

Well, reserve this for me, will you?

No hurry as far as I'm concerned.

Just something I've had at home,
for quite a long time.

Been quite a nuisance in it's way.

I was passing by anyway.
Just a little set of buttons.

Just a few coppers
to buy a cigar.

- Of course I'd throw in the glasses.
- You know I can't take your glasses.

10 cents... 5.
Just as you like.

I cannot accept your buttons.
Please go. And God be with you!

I'll tell you one simple truth:
God doesn't want to help me!

But even if he did,
he can go to hell. Understand?

Do you know what you are?
You're his pack-mule!

But I'll keep him at arm's length.
That's more than you would dare.

You're too much of a coward.

If only God would let me live
for two more hours -

- or two-and-half hours.
Then I'd have money.

I'd be happy, happy,
do what I like.

But then you come along,
and take my last sigh from me.

You won't grudge me
the tiniest thing.

The tiniest thing,
so that I can live a little longer.

- But you're ill! You must go home.
- Home? Where?

- Aren't you from the country?
- Don't mock me!

Is it very misty today?

I know the police.
They always deny the facts!

Oh, it's you, is it?

You write well.
A little excitably, perhaps.

You may write a little
for our readers.

Your article shows talent.
I'd like to use it.

But re-write it
and tone it down a little.

You can easily manage that
by tomorrow.

There'll be 10 crowns
waiting for you outside.

You can easily manage it.

You're not short of money, are you?

No. I'm just... so happy!
Thank you so much!

A little excitably.
Easily manage it. You write well.

Shows talent, shows talent...

Well, are you moving in now?

- If it suits you.
- How much will you pay in advance?

I was going to talk to you about that.
I'll pay tomorrow.

I have 10 crowns waiting for me
at my editorial office.

Just a detail I have to alter here.
Then you shall have 5 crowns.

I thought as much.

But my dear woman, it's a mere
trifle! I can easily manage it.

You shall have 10 crowns.
10! Whatever you wish.

I must have somewhere
to work in peace.

Alright. But if somebody comes
who can pay cash, out you go.

Good evening, miss.

- Good evening.
- Are you looking for somebody?

You must excuse me.
I thought perhaps I could help you.

Perhaps somebody I know?

I'm not looking for anybody.
I'm just standing here.

I see. Would you care to take
a glass of wine with me somewhere?

No thanks, I don't think so.

But if you'd like to walk
down the street with me a bit...

It's so late to walk alone.

- You must be cold without a coat!
- No, not at all.

I very seldom wear my overcoat.
I think you get...

I mean, it's such a cumbersome
thing that I'd rather...

But you shouldn't be walking
with me. I put you to shame.

You've seen me before.

You followed me round
for half a day.

Were you drunk?

Yes, I'm afraid I was.

You mustn't come any further.

Why don't you ask me
to walk back again?

- Would you really...?
- Just a little way.

Incidentally, it wasn't you I was
following that day, but your sister.

My sister?

That is,
the younger of the two ladies.

The younger...?

Oh, you're artful!

By the way,
I've seen you before.

At the theatre, a year ago.
You were with three friends.

I'm afraid you were drunk then too.

- What makes you think that?
- People turned at your laughing.

- I used to laugh a lot then.
- Not now?

Perhaps I still do.
I think life is so wonderful.

Won't I see you again?



You can meet me here
tomorrow evening, if you'd like.

- Really? May I?
- At 8.

But you mustn't
think too badly of me.


Getting cold, isn't it?

And you wanted a loaf, didn't you?

No, a candle.
Just a candle.

And a loaf for you, wasn't it?

Oh, it was you?
Yes, now let's see, that's 4.

The account book!

4 crowns 75 cents.

There you are!

Hello there! Wait!

You forgot your candle!

Well, who'd have thought! You!

It's been a long time.
I hardly recognized you.

- I was here the day before yesterday.
- That was my day off.

Anything to drink?
A beer? On me, that is.

Have you finished?

Hello there! Wait, wait!

Of course, my candle.

Getting dark early these days.

- Yes. There'll be snow tomorrow.
- It seldom comes so soon.

I haven't come here to listen
to your weather forecasts.

Do you know I cheated you?

That you never
received any money?

Some people are so disgusting!

A grocer who cheats himself
deserves to be cheated.

You just talk and talk
and give me change of 5 crowns -

- I'd never given you.
Did you know that?

It's not that despicable. You've got
a measly shop-assistant's mind.

I didn't keep the money! I'm too
honest. I gave it to a poor widow.

Why didn't you
bring it back instead, then?

So you think it's my fault, eh?
I took the money, I admit that.

But I gave it to a poor widow.
Do you want to be less charitable?

Here am I explaining, you should be
ashamed! Shame on you, shame!

Has the "Nun" sailed yet?

The "Nun"?

The "Nun". Well, maybe...

How far is it to Holmestrand
from here, in nautical miles?

Holmestrand, let me see...

Or Veblung Head?

Yes, Holmestrand.
That would be...

Lend me a little tobacco, would you?
Just a little!


Welt binder!

Good evening.

- Have you been waiting long?
- Not at all. I've just come.

It wouldn't have mattered,
if I'd had to wait little.

I thought you'd be coming
from there.

No. I took mother to see a family.
Mother's out this evening.

- Where shall we go?
- Oh, wherever you want.

I don't like having to decide.

There's no light in your windows.

It's the maid's evening off.
There's nobody at home but me.

But we can't go up, can we?

I could sit by the door.

You don't have to sit by the door!

Don't look at me like that! You put
me to shame. I'll never do it again.

What won't you ever do again?

I'll never kiss you again.

Oh no?

You're so awkward!

We can sit over here.

No, not there.
You're much too shy! Come on!

Come in!

You sit there,
and I'll sit here.

That's it.

Shy people are awful! You have
to do and say everything yourself.

I don't get any help
with anything.

Don't try to make me think
you're always modest like this.

You're just pretending.

I remember the day you were drunk
and followed me -

- and pestered me with all your
deep remarks. You were cheeky!

"You're dropping your book, miss!"

That was really mean of you!

Why don't you say anything?

You're so pretty.

I find myself becoming
quite fascinated by you.

Sometimes your eyes shine like,
like flowers. Well, perhaps not...

I'm utterly in love with you.
I know it's quite unreasonable.

Do you know what I've called you?

- Yiajali!
- Yiajali?

It sounds so gentle,
sort of rippling...


Is it a foreign word?

No, I suppose not.

It doesn't sound ugly.

I really think you look
a little better than last time.

Not much. Only a little bit.
Don't give yourself ideas.

Last time you really looked bad.

And you were very keen to go
and drink wine with me somewhere.

Was it because of my miserable
appearance that you wouldn't?

No, it wasn't that.

Now you mustn't
be angry with me, but...

Last night when I lay down
to go to sleep -

- I put out my arm and pretended
you were lying beside me!

How lovely!

You'd only dare do that
at a distance, because otherwise...

- Don't you think I'd dare?
- No, I don' think so.

Oh yes, you can expect
anything from me!

Can I?

You see, I can scare you
just by frowning a little.

By heavens!
I'll show you.

Your kisses
taste like apricots... sweet.

A little chocolate sweet.

May I see... May I see?

What a lot of hair.

How does a person your age
keep losing so much hair?

I don't know.

You probably drink too much.
You should be ashamed of yourself.

I'd quite like to know what sort of
a life you lead. Probably dreadful.

You really ought to tell me about it.
Begin! Tell me now!

May I kiss your breast first?

No you may not! No, certainly not!
No! What do you want?

You'll see.

No, don't. How can I
be certain you're not mad?

Do you really think I am?

No... Yes, when you behave
in a funny way.

That day you followed me,
perhaps you weren't drunk after all?

No! May I? May I?

No, I'm afraid! Leave me alone!
No, you'd better kiss my breast then!

But God in heaven,
what sort of a game is this?


The maid will be coming home soon.

Was your father in the army?

How could you guess that?

It just struck me.

Sometimes I sense certain things
when I'm in certain places.

It's probably got something
to do with my madness.

Are you going now?

Why don't you tell me
to go quite frankly?

No need to be shy.

Instead of reminding me
that the maid will be back soon -

- you could say: "I've got
to fetch my mother now -"

"- and I don't want your company
in the street."

I wasn't thinking that at all.

Yes, you were. The way you pick up
your jacket, and put it down again -

- it's quite obvious.

One doesn't have to be mad -

- just because one is
a sensitive person.

There are people who live on trifles
and die because of a harsh word.

Alright, I'm going.

Look, my hand is already
on the door handle.


Goodnight, I said!

At least you could say goodnight
to me now that I've said it twice.

I'm not asking to meet you again
because I know it would pain you.

Why didn't you leave me in peace?
What have I done to you?

Did I get in your way?

Why did you turn your back
as if I didn't exist?

But you say nothing.

You just want me to go.

I like you all the same.

How beautiful you are now!

You can't go in there! The room
has been let to somebody else.

But it's my room!

It is? And what have you paid,
might I ask?

Yes, but you'd promised to...

I said if somebody else came
and paid in advance -

- you'd have to go, didn't I?

But what shall I do?
I must have somewhere to work.

Well, come and sit in with us.
You can sleep in the passage.

I'm afraid I must ask you
to let me spend the night here.

Did the wife say so?

Somebody else has got my room.

And in his eye!

Will you stop spitting at them,
you old runt!

They won't leave him in peace!

You can keep your trap shut,
or it'll be the worse for you.

You're all off
your bloody rockers!

If you're going to be in here
you'd better keep quiet.

You can stay the night, but you
needn't kick up a shindy as well.

Well, there's our bookkeeping
friend! How's Mr. Christie?

Getting on all right?

The days are getting shorter.

There's snow in the air.

You sound like a shopkeeper.

Why don't you
start up as an undertaker -

- travel round the country
and drink coffee with people -

- seeing you've got a face
like a professional mourner.

- Do you know her?
- No.

- You made such a chivalrous bow!
- Maybe.

Not that it makes much difference.

As long as she's with that fellow
I wouldn't care to answer for her!


Come and have a look!

Look at the old man.

Just sitting there watching it all!

God Almighty!
Are you here again?

I only want to say goodbye.

Get out before I fetch the police!

I haven't touched...

You can get out this minute!

I'm sick and tired of you.
Get out!

Do you know this person?

Wait, I think this is for you.

What is it?

What nonsense is this?
Who is it from?

Don't know.
A lady gave it to me.

All is lost!
Ladies and gentlemen, all is lost.

Ladies and gentlemen, all is...

Excuse me, what's the time?

About 4 o'clock.

That's it.
I can hear you know your business.

I shall remember you!

Hello, Captain!
Can you use a man?

Alright. Go forward and wait
till we've pushed off!