Original Release: October 07, 2011 (Norway)
Directed by: Pål Sletaune
Written by: Pål Sletaune
Produced by: Turid Øversveen
Running Time: 96 minutes
Box Office: N/A
Anna (Noomi Rapace) and her 8-year old son, Anders (Vetle Qvenild Werring) move to a secret address in a giant apartment building. Anna is terrified that her ex-husband will find them and buys a babycall to make sure Anders is safe while he sleeps. But strange noises echoe in the babycall from elsewhere in the building. Anna overhears what she believes is the murder of a child. But is this for real or is she losing her mind?
Cast & CharactersNoomi Rapace (Anna), Kristoffer Joner (Helge), Vetle Qvenild Werring (Anders), Stig R. Amdam (Ole), Maria Bock (Grete), Torkil Høeg (Nabogutten), Henrik Rafaelsen (Mannlig doktor), Tom Hugo Nielsen (Skoleinspektør), Mona Engh (Sekretær), Eva Zeidler (Helges mor), Camilla Augusta Hallan (Kvinnelig doktor)
Production Notes"Babycall" is a thriller about empathy, anxiety and pushing the limits of our imagination. According to director Pål Sletaune - who claimed to international fame with his feature "Next Door" - the idea for "Babycall" was born when he heard stories about people hearing other people's sound on their babymonitor. "Somehow it struck me as a very interesting starting point for a film. Then the character of Anna, escaping a violent relationship, appeared in my imagination. Then I started writing, and as I did on Next Door, I wrote the screenplay without knowing the end, just going on, trying to live through the story with my characters". He approached the script to Noomi Rapace, who accepted right after reading it. "Noomi had her breakthrough half a year before we started casting and was all over the world promoting the film. I had seen the film and been totally struck with her presicion and presence, so I approached her to read the screenplay. She got back to me right away after having read it, saying she felt the story and the character had blown her away, and that she had been dreaming about the story the whole night after. Noomi is a fantastic actress, and its been wonderful and challenging to work with her. She demands that everything should be true, every movement, every line, every emotion."
In a director's statement for the release of the film, Sletaune states, "Babycall is a film about a modern heroine. It deals with how much one human being can endure, and how the main character Anna, like every human being, creates her own world.It directs the audience into Anna’s universe, where we manoeuvre with her through uneasy, frightening territory, where we learn that nothing can be trusted. The film is basically a mental journey. However, its narrative style aspires to anchor the story in some kind of reality. It has a pure and "objective" style which strengthens our impression that what we see is true. Later in the film, as Anna’s reality starts crumbling, we will despair at the events along with her, and frantically attempt to distinguish between reality and imagination. But that also raises another question: Who is to decide what is "real" in your own life? I, like most people, have been strongly influenced by my own upbringing and have always been interested in the mechanisms that govern close relationships. After I became a father myself, I have become more and more aware of how delicate and vulnerable the relationship between parents and children can be. I had wanted to explore this theme for a long time, and, as the story of "Babycall" developed, I realized it had also become a story about how love can be the most dangerous of all emotions. I hope "Babycall" is a film that both shocks and moves the viewer, a film that leaves an impression of humanity’s vulnerability and dreams.
"Babycall" released Norwegian theaters in October 2011 and had its festival premiere the same month at the Rome International Film Festival. Critics were responding mixed to the muddled plotline of the film, but universally praised Rapace's performance. "Throughout, Sletaune tends to hedge his supernatural bets, so it’s the naturalistic intensity of Rapace’s performance that stays with us", wrote Time Out in its review. According to the Guardian's review, "Rapace, breathing shallowly and turning deathly pale, gives a brilliant impression of fear". And Empire Magazine added "Noomi Rapace is remarkably fragile and affecting, confirming her status as one of Europe’s best actresses". The Rome International Film Festival agreed on the praise and awarded Noomi Rapace with the Best Actress prize of the year. In 2012, "Babycall" received nine nominations for the Danish Amandaprisen - winning for Best Sound Design, Best Production Design, Best Screenplay and Best Actress. In the United States, "Babycall" was released on DVD and VOD under the title "The Monitor".