Archive of films Kristin Lavransdatter / Kristin Lavransdatter

1995, 185 min

Section: Nature and Landscape in Norwegian Cinema
Year: 2005

Set in medieval Norway, this is a story of a fateful love condemned as immoral by Catholic society. The heroine’s powerful personality dominates her relationship with an irresponsible beau bent on adventure. The film features a magnificent landscape with historical evocations of a faraway time, ritualized customs, and mysterious pagan visions.


Norway’s medieval history (14th century), in which the moral order was enforced by the strictures of Catholicism, is reflected in the life of a wealthy yeoman’s daughter. This portrait of the lovely Kristin begins in childhood, a happy phase with the notable exception of once being raped in the forest. The dishonoured girl takes refuge in a convent to wait until she grows up and is married to a local man to whom she is betrothed. But instead she is destined to fall in love with knight Erlend Nikulausson, a charming seducer who has already been stigmatized by an affair with a married woman. In defiance of everyone, Kristin insists that they marry; not even the suicide of Erlend’s former lover can stop her. Judged by all, the pair overcome the shameful scandal and start their life together supported by the unfaltering power of Kristin’s love. The dramatic course of their forthcoming coexistence is augured by a burnt-out church as a symbol of weakened spirituality and punishment for sin.

About the director

Liv Ullmann (b. 1938) was born in Tokyo to Norwegian parents, and before the family returned to Norway she lived for a time in the USA and Canada. She studied acting in London but debuted in film in Norway. In the most significant phase of her career, working with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, she portrayed powerful female roles (Persona, Hour of the Wolf, Cries and Whispers, Autumn Sonata, etc.). She established herself as a feature director with Sofie (1992), and shot two subsequent films based on scripts written by Bergman: Private Confessions (1996) and Faithless (2000). The director approached the demanding epic Kristin Lavransdatter (1995), based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner Sigrid Undset, as a project both highly personal and at the same time national. During shooting, she put to good use her ample acting experience and knowledge of Bergman’s directing work. As an added bonus, she asked Sven Nykvist to stand behind the lens. The film broke every Norwegian cinema attendance record.


Norwegian Film Institute
Box 482 Sentrum, 0105, Oslo
Tel: +47 224 745 00
Fax: +47 224 745 97

Leopoldstrasse 18, D - 80802, Mratín
Tel: +49 89 39 10 25
Fax: +49 89 33 10 89

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Nature and Landscape in Norwegian Cinema
Director: Liv Ullmann
Screenplay: Liv Ullmann podle románu/based on the novel by Sigrid Undset
Dir. of Photography: Sven Nykvist
Editor: Michal Leszczylowski
Producer: Esben Høilund Carlsen, Göran Lindström
Production: Norsk Film AS
Cast: Elisabeth Matheson, Bjørn Skagestad, Sverre Anker Ousdal, Erland Josephson, Henny Moan, Rut Tellefsen
Contact: Norwegian Film Institute , Cine-International


Liv Ullmann

Actor / Film Director

Astri Blindheim

Film Institution Rep.

Jan Erik Holst

Film Institution Rep.

Vigdis Lian

Stine Oppegaard

Film Institution Rep.


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