By Brian Lafferty
September 30, 2011 (San Diego) – Happy, Happy opens today at the Landmark Ken Cinema for a one-week run. It’s a delightful Norwegian import that is at times laugh out loud funny and other times full of drama. Anne Sewitsky helmed the movie, her first feature film. I had a brief conversation with her by phone.
Speaking from Norway, she described the sudden success of the film, which was originally developed, “From a small story in a small village.” Working diligently on the script for “two to three years,” she said that, “We didn’t know this would become a film until the end of the screenwriting process.”
Happy, Happy was released to Norwegian theaters in October of 2010. Earlier this year, it made its way to Sundance. It was an experience that Sewitsky described as, “Fantastic.” Magnolia Pictures picked up the distribution rights and it was released in New York and Los Angeles on September 16. Now San Diegans will get to see it.
One key element of Happy, Happy is its honesty in both the characters and the story. Sewitsky and her screenwriters drew upon real-life experiences in developing the script. “We used a lot of people we knew,” she explained. They also, “Used a lot of ourselves,” as further inspiration.
It shows; many of the scenes are true to life. One of the funniest scenes is when the two couples play a game of pictionary, which ends with a huge belly laugh when Eirik (Joachim Rafaelsen) reveals that he was trying to draw AIDS.
What made that scene, and many other scenes so funny? Sewitsky chalks it up to the funny real-life situations we encounter and then laugh about when we look back on them. “I think a lot of [everyday] life scenes can be hilarious,” she explains.