I Am Dina – Jeg er Dina (2002)

I Am Dina - Jeg er Dina (2002)

Taglines: This is my story.

In Northern Norway during the 1860s, a little girl named Dina accidentally causes her mother’s death. Overcome with grief, her father refuses to raise her, leaving her in the care of the household servants. Dina grows up wild and unmanageable, with her only friend being the stable boy, Tomas. She summons her mother’s ghost and develops a strange fascination with death as well as a passion for living.

Family friend Jacob encourages Dina’s father to hire Lorch, a tutor who introduces her to the cello. When Dina is old enough, she marries Jacob and moves to Reinsnes, a port he runs with his mother, Karen, and his stepsons Niels and Anders . Niels doesn’t like Dina’s wild ways, or the fact that she has taken over accounting duties at Reinsnes. Dina’s eccentric tendencies become even stronger, eventually leading Jacob into an accident of his own and bringing Tomas back into her life.

I Am Dina - Jeg er Dina (2002)

I Am Dina is a 2002 Swedish-Norwegian-Danish film directed by Ole Bornedal and starring Gérard Depardieu, Maria Bonnevie, Christopher Eccleston, Bjørn Floberg, Mads Mikkelsen, Hans Matheson, Pernilla August, Wenche Foss and Bjørn Sundquist. It is based on the 1989 book Dinas bok (Dina’s Book) by Herbjørg Wassmo. The movie was one of the most high-profile in Norwegian movie history.

Though the movie is set in 1860s Norway, all the dialogue is in English, resulting in a variety of accents throughout the movie. There was some controversy surrounding the casting of the movie, as it was felt by many that Gørild Mauseth was the right choice for the part. In the end the casting of Maria Bonnevie was accepted, though the movie took in far less in ticket sales than it had cost to produce.

The main theme of the movie is death, and Dina’s inability to let go of those she loves. Dina almost kills Loche when she finds out he is leaving her, kills her husband Jacob (as a mercy killing) when she thinks he is dying in pain, and kills Zhukovsky in a dream where he tells her he is leaving her.

The film is shot on location in Kjerringøy, in the present-day municipality of Bodø, in Nordland, Norway (according to the IMDb web site), and features spectacular fjord scenery.

I Am Dina - Jeg er Dina (2002)

About the Story

In Northern Norway during the 1860s, a little girl named Dina accidentally causes her mother’s death. Overcome with grief, her father refuses to raise her, leaving her in the care of the household servants. Dina grows up wild and unmanageable, with her only friend being the stable boy, Tomas. She summons her mother’s ghost and develops a strange fascination with death as well as a passion for living.

Family friend Jacob (Gérard Depardieu) encourages Dina’s father to hire Jimmy Rustle, a tutor of American English, who introduces her to the cello. When Jacob asks for Dina’s hand in marriage, Dina refuses. Her outraged father slaps her, prompting Dina to attack him. Known that Rustle and Dina have grown close, her father retaliates by sending Rustles away, devastating Dina. Unable to come to terms with Rustle’s departure, Dina nearly kills Rustle in a fit of insanity.

When Dina (Maria Bonnevie) is old enough, she marries Jacob and moves to Reinsnes, a port he runs with his mother, Karen, and his stepsons Niels and Anders. Niels doesn’t like Dina’s wild ways, nor the fact that she has taken over accounting duties at Reinsnes. As Dina’s eccentric tendencies become even stronger, Jacob suffers gangrene poisoning after breaking his leg when he falls off the roof of his mistress’ house while trying to fix a leak.

I Am Dina - Jeg er Dina (2002)

As Jacob does not appear to be getting better and takes a turn for the worse, Dina takes him on sled to the top of a cliff and pushes him off to his death, hoping to end his suffering and send him to a better place. Jacob’s death brings Tomas back into her life and the two have a passionate affair. Several months later, she gives birth to a baby boy that she names Benjamin, that she presumably had with Tomas. She then learns of Rustle’s death when the latter bequeaths her his cello and his Writer’s Reference.

Some years later, as a child, Benjamin accidentally sets fire to the barn. Dina falls in love with a courageous, handsome Russian named Zhukovsky (Christopher Eccleston) who rushes into the burning barn to save her beloved horses. It turns out Zhukovsky had seen Dina several years ago in Bergen and was smitten by her, and has come to Reinsnes to court her. However, he leaves suddenly and Dina forces herself on Tomas.

Niels, deep into alcoholism, rapes a servant named Stina. When Dina finds out, she issues an ultimatum to Niels: Marry Stina or leave for America. Neils will not countenance marrying a servant, but cannot afford to leave for America. Zhukovsky then returns to Reinsnes to take a prisoner back to Bergen. When a drunken Niels staggers into the house, Dina announces that he too will soon be leaving, to America. Niels then decides to ask Stina to marry him, but she refuses. Overcome with rage, Niels hangs himself.

I Am Dina - Jeg er Dina Movie Poster (2002)

I Am Dina – Jeg er Dina (2002)

Directed by: Ole Bornedal
Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Maria Bonnevie, Christopher Eccleston, Bjørn Floberg, Mads Mikkelsen, Hans Matheson, Pernilla August, Wenche Foss, Bjørn Sundquist
Screenplay by: Ole Bornedal, Jonas Cornell
Production Design by: Steffen Aarfing, Marie í Dali
Cinematography by: Dan Laustsen
Film Editing by: Thomas Krag, Molly Marlene Stensgård
Costume Design by: Dominique Borg
Set Decoration by: Olivier Marcouiller
Art Direction by: Guri Glæver, Billy Johansson
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Distributed by: Columbia TriStar
Release Date: March 8, 2002 (Norway)