A Stick, a Stone, the End of the Road: Joachim Trier Discusses "The Worst Person in the World"

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The Norwegian director talks about his new romantic drama, identifying with his characters, the state of Norway, and cinematic inspirations.

By Elissa Suh

The Brazilian jazz standard “The Waters of March” is a breezy song that conceals a bitter truth. Its oblique lyrics, set to a lilting melody, relay a sense of our mortal fates. The song, which plays over the end credits of The Worst Person in the Worldis an apt correlative for Joachim Trier’s latest film, where strategic amusements mask more serious preoccupations.

The Norwegian director burst onto the film scene fifteen years ago with Reprise, an energetic debut about friends in their twenties with literary aspirations. His second feature, Oslo, August 31st, followed a day in the life of a recovering addict. While the scrappy propulsion of Reprise seems far from the somber mood of Oslo, August 31st, their central themes remain the same: urban youth adrift, searching for meaning, and grasping at immortality.

The Worst Person in the World follows suit and completes what’s been dubbed the “Oslo Trilogy,” this time with a female protagonist in tow. Nominally a romantic drama, the film is splashed with humor that is easy to please. But on closer inspection, the humor is broached by a cloud of uncertainty.At its center is the buoyant and impulsive Julie (a luminous Renate Reinsve), a creature of appetites, curiosities, and dreams on the verge of turning 30. Life throws a wrench into her comfortable life with a Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie), a successful graphic novelist, in the form of a barista named Eivind (Herbert Nordrum), and she soon learns that treating the world as your oyster can leave others in disrepair and that pearls have a shelf life. 

Read the interview here.