Lisbet Holtedahl

Already as a child, Holtedahl became fas­ci­nat­ed by people and objects from dif­fer­ent life worlds. As a young adult she went to Paris in 1964 and watched screen­ings of ethno­graph­i­cal films in the Musée de l’Homme for the first time. There she also met Jean Rouch, who fueled her inter­est in Africa, film, and ethnology. 

Early on, she became aware of the dif­fi­cul­ty of con­vey­ing impres­sions of Africa. In her first film, NIGER-NORGE (1975), she address­es the living con­di­tions of women in a vil­lage in east­ern Nige­ria, which she con­trasts with cor­re­spond­ing scenes shot in Tromsø. In this way, she pro­vides a provoca­tive and tongue-in-cheek glimpse of what West­ern­ers con­sid­er normal as a way of over­com­ing stereo­types. The poten­tial and chal­lenge of ade­quate­ly trans­lat­ing dif­fer­ent life worlds through film con­tin­ues to occupy the direc­tor up to this day. In her works, Holtedahl always has West­ern audi­ences in mind – their long­ings and their prej­u­dices. Her main goals are to enable them to empathize with the pro­tag­o­nists and to create space for identification.

While sen­so­ry ethno­graph­ic films (freiburg­er film forum 2015) aim to achieve an almost phys­i­cal reac­tion on the part of the audi­ence con­cen­trat­ing on sen­so­ry per­cep­tion, Holtedahl fol­lows a nar­ra­tive strat­e­gy and strives for verbal exchange and social com­pe­tence. She shares every­day life as a dia­logue part­ner with the people in front of the camera, who open up and accept her. Long-term research rela­tion­ships evolve into friend­ships and a sense of close­ness, offer­ing deep insight into life sto­ries and some­times per­son­al dramas. 

WIVES enters the inner circle of a family and never leaves their house, where­as THE CHÂTEAU fol­lows the out­side activ­i­ties of a busi­ness­man. Here, Holtedahl’s focus shifts to the spheres of influ­ence of a man in a pow­er­ful posi­tion, whose deci­sions affect many people’s lives. Her research leaves the family fabric and turns to society’s elite in order to illu­mi­nate social con­di­tions and depen­den­cies. In this film, we are again baf­fled by the pal­pa­ble ease with which the pro­tag­o­nist treats her as a film­mak­er. Holtedahl lives with these fam­i­lies as if she belongs. This is how her won­der­ful­ly unpre­ten­tious way of making films unfolds. 

Fri, 31-May-19 10:00 AM
Anthro­po­log­i­cal film­mak­ing: Lessons learned As young novice in Anthro­pol­o­gy in the field, I made draw­ings of people and asked chil­dren to do the same thing; I also took pic­tures and … read more

The Château

Lisbeth Holtedahl
Norway 2018 | 113 min | engl. subtitled

Thu, 30-May-19 07:30 PM
A por­trait of one of the rich­est Cameroon­ian indus­tri­al­ists Al Hajji Mohamadou Ous­man­ou Abbo. Filmed over a period of more than ten years. The red thread of the story is … read more


Lisbeth Holtedahl
Norway 2018 | 85 min | engl. subtitled

Thu, 30-May-19 01:30 PM

Fri, 31-May-19 05:30 PM
Alha­jji Ibrahim Gonji is an Islam­ic schol­ar. For 46 years, he has served as judge at the Sul­tanate of Ngaoundéré in North­ern Cameroon. The film fol­lows Alha­jji during the last … read more