Archive of films Head Above Water / Hodet over vannet

1993, 100 min

Section: Nature and Landscape in Norwegian Cinema
Year: 2005

Thriller, black humour and absurdity combined, the film describes the antics of a couple of newlyweds, whose mutual trust is put to the test when they have to deal with the corpse of the wife’s former lover.


The film is set on a desolate island in southern Norway, where newlyweds Einar and Lene are spending the summer. Their only other companion is Björn, Lene’s friend from childhood, with whom Einar departs on a two-day fishing trip. During their absence, the island is visited by Gaute, Lene’s former psychologist and lover, who gets drunk and falls asleep naked in the marital bed. Lene wakes up in the morning to the sound of the siren heralding the return of the men’s boat. When Lene tries to goad Gaute into action, she discovers he is stone dead. She panics at the thought of her husband’s jealousy and hides the corpse beneath a trap door in the floor. But she can’t close it properly and Einar treads on it, causing the audible sound of Gaute’s neck breaking. Einar seemingly accepts Lene’s explanation, but what do they now do about the body? The police would suspect murder. And anyway, why and how did Gaute die exactly?

About the director

Nils Gaup (1955, Kautokeino, Norway) began studying at Oslo’s Drama School in 1974. After three years he then worked as an actor for several Norwegian theatres and was one of the founders of the Lappish (Sami) stage company Beaivvas Sami Teahter. In 1985 he launched the project The Pathfinder - an old Lappish legend he used to hear as a child. This film enjoyed a great response from viewers and was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1987. After this success, Gaup had several offers from Hollywood and his next film was Shipwrecked, which was partly financed by Walt Disney Studios. Head Above Water (1993) is his third feature film.


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

Filmkameratene AS
, N-0106, Oslo
Tel: +47 23 355 300
Fax: +47 23 355 301

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Nature and Landscape in Norwegian Cinema
Director: Nils Gaup
Screenplay: Eirik Ildahl, Geir Eriksen
Dir. of Photography: Erling Thurmann-Andersen
Music: Kjetil Bjerkestrand
Editor: Malte Wadman
Producer: John M. Jacobsen
Production: Filmkameratene AS
Cast: Lene Elise Bergum, Svein Roger Warlsen, Morten Abel, Reidar Sørensen, Jon Skolmen
Contact: Norwegian Film Institute , Filmkameratene AS


Nils Gaup

Film Director

Astri Blindheim

Film Institution Rep.

Jan Erik Holst

Film Institution Rep.

Vigdis Lian

Stine Oppegaard

Film Institution Rep.

John M. Jacobsen



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