Thursday, November 07, 2013

Kon-Tiki (1950)

Kon-Tiki / Lautalla yli Tyynenmeren. SE/NO 1950. Viewed in the American release version (c) 1951 Sol Lesser Productions. D+SC+narrator+himself: Thor Heyerdahl. Featuring: Herman Watzinger, Erik Hesselberg, Knut Haugland, Torstein Raaby, Bengt Danielsson. American introduction narrated by Richard XXX. DV viewed at the Sortebill screening room, Filmens Hus, Oslo, 7 Nov 2013

A dream come true: at last I saw this legendary film based on a voyage of exploration, also thrillingly covered in Thor Heyerdahl's book I loved as a child. The Heyerdahl film was immortally discussed by André Bazin in his seminal essays about reality and the cinema.

The cinematographic quality of the movie may be partly amateurish, but there is nothing amateurish in the passion of Thor Heyerdahl's dedicated crew.

This is a movie about a true adventure, well prepared, well executed, and with everybody participating with a total devotion.

That is why this movie is so engrossing, and because of the absolute and sincere dedication and sense of mission everything else falls into place.

Kon-Tiki is still one of the greatest documentaries ever made, and also one of the greatest adventure films.

I liked the recent big budget fictional film Kon-Tiki (2012) very much, too. It shows all the storms and dangerous encounters missing from this real film. Yet the original film manages to convey the sense of adventure better.

I'm still puzzled why in the new film they show fake old footage. Why did they not show some of the real footage?

André Bazin, “Kon-Tiki et Groenland: Poésie et aventure”, Le Miroir de Paris, Vol. 2371 (28 April 1952). André Bazin, “Le Kon-Tiki ou grandeur et servitudes du reportage filmé”, France Observateur, Vol. 103 (30 April 1952), p. 24.

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