Q&A at Stockfish with dogma director Mona J. Hoel!

3/11/2020

Norwegian director and writer Mona J. Hoel will be present for a Q&A session after the screening of her latest film Are you Leaving Already? (2019, Skal dere gå allerede?). Hoel gets back in touch with her Dogma roots with the new film. She is best known for her previous feature, Cabin Fever (2000) which stands as the 19th film certified as part of the Dogme 95 movement.

The Dogme 95 cinematic movement has in its heart the promise of delivering narratives that are as close to reality as possible, it started with danish filmmakers Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, with the ideal of granting the director the well deserved role of artist, that is, as independent from studios’ dictates as possible. In that sense, not only the stories told in Dogme 95 movies speak of daily lives, but also the shooting of scenes themselves are designed in a minimalist fashion that facilitates the audience’s proximity with the narrative and grants the artists involved a much higher degree of independence.

To this end, Dogme 95 carries 10 rules (known as Vows of Chastity) for directors who wish to film a movie within the movement. Are you Leaving Already? follows these Vows of Chastity, having also been made without any kind of support from the government. In short, Mona’s new film is independent of external influences, being a product that purely represents the director’s vision.

Running for 87 minutes, Are you Leaving Already? brings to the audience the story of a young girl, played by Nicole Madeleine Aurdahl (Chlorox, Ammonium and Coffee), who moves into a new apartment provided by her father after serving time in jail. With an absent father and a workaholic mother, she carries the weight of many young people in the world nowadays, having to fend for herself and build a family from unexpected friendships.

Unhappy with the snot-green color of the new apartment, she hires two painters to help with renovations. They soon realise that the damages of the apartment is nowhere near the emotional scars the girl herself carries. It is in this context that the story unfolds which is well within the boundaries of real everyday life. The focus is on Nicole’s character whose issues are considerably relatable, if not as a whole, certainly in parts.

Mona J. Hoel studied photography at the International center of Photography in New York from 1982 to 1985, received an interdisciplinary degree in theatre science at the University of Oslo as well as in film directing at the Dramatic Institute in Stockholm. Already in those years Mona J. Hoel seemed to hint at a promising career, having had Ingmar Bergman as a mentor, and Alan Parker as jury chairman on her graduation short film The House, which won main film prize at the International School Film Festival in Munich (1989).  Are You Leaving Already? marks a welcome return to filmmaking for Hoel, after over a over a decade away from the scene.

The realistic mood of Are You Leaving Already? is bound to stir the audiences’ emotions and thoughts, making the presence of the director at the movie’s screening all the more valuable, giving the audience the unmissable opportunity to present their thoughts and questions directly to Mona J. Hoel.