The National Library of Norway celebrates the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage by “The Growth of the Soil”
27 October 2009
Frogner Cinema in Oslo / Norway
The National Library of Norway celebrates the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage by screening the silent movie “The Growth of the Soil”.
The film was made in 1921 by the Danish director Gunnar Sommerfeldt and was adapted from the eponymous novel published in 1919 by the Norwegian Nobel-prize winner Knut Hamsun (1859-1952). The novel has been translated into some 25 languages. An eBook version of the English translation can be downloaded here:
The Growth of the Soil is a milestone achievement in Norwegian film history. It can be considered the first professional fiction film ever produced in Norway, and is the first Norwegian film with original music scored by the composer Leif Halvorsen.
The film was considered lost until a 16 mm copy was found in the USA in 1971. An even better copy was discovered in the Netherlands in 1991. Since then the surviving copies have undergone extended restoration, and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra has recorded the original musical score.
Mo i Rana under the Arctic Circle was chosen as location for the production, proving that national heritage could be created in small local communities at that time as well. Hamsun grew up in a nearby region, and you may say that today the circle is closed with the preservation of the original surviving copies of the film at the National Library in Mo i Rana.
A screening of the film with introductions will take place at Frogner Cinema in Oslo, October 27th from 13:00-15:45. The restored film including the original musical score is also available on DVD with intertitles in Norwegian, English, French, Spanish, German and Russian. The DVD can be ordered from the Norwegian Film Institute:
Last update: 4 October 2012