Opening 18 Dec 2014
1001 Grams is a gentle comedy about a weights and measures scientist who finds herself recalibrating her own life. Most of us probably spend little time weighing the importance of international standards of scientific measurement. There exists, however, a cadre of scientists who keep their national prototype kilograms in secure vaults, to be withdrawn on occasion and taken to Paris, where the world’s international standards organization compares them to its prototype. Among their rarified ranks is Marie, a serious-minded metrologist at the Norwegian Institute of Weights and Measures. Newly separated and virtually friendless, Marie spends time with her dad, who, despite directing the Institute, enjoys the chaos of country living and is considerably more relaxed than his uptight daughter.
Marie travels the country in her ridiculously tiny energy-efficient car, checking the precision of postal scales and gas pumps. But when her father becomes ill, it falls upon her to journey – carefully – with the precious kilogram prototype to a conference in Paris. After delays at the French border, where quizzical customs agents fail to understand the sober Scandinavian’s attachment to what looks like a piece of metal inside a bell jar, she settles in for a meeting of like minds. But then Marie meets a former scientist who has cast off his job, preferring instead to tend the lovely gardens surrounding the prestigious International Bureau of Weights and Measures. Which leads us to wonder, along with Marie: if something extra is added to our lives, so that they‘re suddenly thrown off balance, is that necessarily a bad thing?
Though it’s obvious where the film is going, it’s a pleasant enough journey getting there. Beautifully-lit Parisian gardens provide a contrast to the clinical institutional interiors in Norway. Actor Ane Dahl Torp is convincing as Marie, though her performance remains muted after she’s come out of her chrysalis and become a butterfly. Norway‘s nomination for the 2015 Foreign Language Oscar, 1001 Grams also opened the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck. (Brenda Benthien)