Olav H. Hauge was one of Norway’s most prominent poets in the post-war period. An apple grower by trade, his poetry was rooted in home in Ulvik where he lived and farmed – he pursued a broader knowledge through extensive reading. His collections have been published in twenty-five languages and a museum in his honour is the centre-piece of Ulvik.
Commissioned by the Olav H. Hauge Senterum in Ulvik, Norway, to produce an experimental film investigating Hauge’s life and work Alastair Cook selected six of Hauge’s shorter poems as a contiguous narrative. Hauge’s struggle with seasonal depression was revealed in his extensive diaries; his treatments consisted of electroshock, as well as injections and regular beatings from the staff. Hauge’s bright darkness is borne from loneliness and emotional disconnection.
Cook worked with electro-acoustic musician Luca Nasciuti and his regular cinematographer James William Norton.
Olav Hauge died in 1994, at the age of 85. It has been said that he died “the old way” one day simply taking to his bed and refusing to eat for ten days at the end of which he quietly slipped away. The mare that drew his coffin along a picturesque mountain road, just outside of Ulvik, had recently foaled and the colt danced playfully alongside her as the funeral procession followed.Gilbert Wesley Purdy