“The Worst Person in the World” is just that: The film is about a singular person.
Director Joachim Trier clarified that his conclusion to his “Oslo” trilogy is a “character piece” about one specific woman — Julie, played by Renate Reinsve — and her journey to finding herself, not an analysis on modern feminism as a whole.
“I did not want to make a general statement about what it means to be a woman today, that would be impossible,” Trier told Variety. “The fact of her being a woman eventually comes in to play by itself, through trying to portray truthful situations with humor and satire, and different things that I have experienced, seen or imagined.”
Trier added, “I don’t have so much control when I write, my co-writer Eskil Vogt and I try to find interesting ideas and we try to explore them truthfully. The great thing about art is that it doesn’t have to be an analysis or sociological study: We can try to tell something honest about one person, and out of that, there may be something bigger to think about.”
“The Worst Person in the World” premiered in competition at 2021 Cannes, where it was acquired by Neon for domestic rights. Reinsve also won a Best Actress award at the festival.
“Some of the questions we are asking in the film are existential and I guess could apply to all people,” Trier said. “This film deals with how relationships mirror our existential expectations of life. In our culture, we are brought up to expect love to be the place where we fulfill ourselves, and the same with careers.”
And just like the specificity of Julie’s story was central to “The Worst Person in the World,” so was its location.
Trier filmed in his native Norway, calling the light “very special” in Oslo, where the film is set.
“Oslo is changing a lot, it has grown tremendously as a city, and throughout my films, I try to show the history of the city,” Trier continued. “I love that sense of specificity of a place in movies. When I watch a Martin Scorsese or a Spike Lee movie, I like to see the parts of New York that they show. For a filmmaker, it’s a cinematic gift to have a place that you know intimately, that you can film and show to an audience. Oslo is exactly this to me. Making films for me is about memory, spaces, and time.”