Kon-Tiki

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“This passionately produced account of Norwegian national hero Thor Heyerdahl’s journey aboard a balsa-wood raft from Peru to Polynesia makes for a cracking piece of man-vs-nature entertainment.” — Simon Foster, screenspace.com 

Year: 2012
Country: Denmark, Germany, Norway, UK
Running time: 118 mins
Censor Rating: M - violence

Producers: Aage Aaberge, Jeremy Thomas
Screenplay: Petter Skavlan
Photography: Geir Hartly Andreassen
Editors: Perry Eriksen, Martin Stoltz
Music: Johan Söderqvist 

With: Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann, Gustaf Skarsgård, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Jakob Oftebro, Agnes Kittelsen

CinemaScope/DCP/English-language version

Festivals: Toronto 2012

Kon-Tiki combines high adventure at sea with a fascinating psychological portrait of one of Norway’s national heroes, anthropologist/explorer/filmmaker Thor Heyerdahl. The country’s most expensive film ever, boasting breathtaking filming on the oceans, it has been a blockbuster on Scandinavian screens and was one of the five finalists in the Foreign Language category at this year’s Oscars. NZIFF presents the New Zealand premiere screening on the giant Civic screen such a spectacle cries out for.

“The voyage of the Kon-Tiki was one of the greatest DIY experiments of the 20th century, proving that six young scientists, using primitive technology and sheer foolhardy belief, could traverse the Pacific Ocean on a homemade balsawood raft… The 1947 expedition, under the captaincy of intensely charismatic experimental anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, has already been the subject of a bestselling book and an Oscar-winning documentary, both authored by Heyerdahl himself. Yet there's still plenty of grist left for a feature film, and Heyerdahl seems just as intriguing a subject as he was an auteur.

[He is] portrayed with great energy by Pål Sverre Hagen – who plays him not as a conventionally burly outsdoorsman, but rather as a wiry, rigidly assembled go-getter who seems physically incapable of reclining in an easy chair… Once aboard the Kon-Tiki, the sextet is beset by omnipresent sharks, storms and the slowly mounting realization that the hemp lashings holding the boat together are loosening by the day… Locations in Norway, Bulgaria, the Maldives, Thailand and Malta are gorgeously shot, and special credit should go to sound designers Baard Haugan Ingebretsen and Tormod Ringnes, who manage to keep the creaking sounds of the boat slowly coming unraveled eerily present.” — Andrew Barker, Variety