On the eve of his discharge from an addiction clinic, 34-year-old Anders gets one day's leave to have a job interview. He takes advantage of the opportunity to look up old friends and to roam apparently aimlessly through ‘his’ Oslo, coloured by the last light of summer. But the failed suicide he attempted at the beginning of the film taints everything that follows: the subject of suicide is never far away in the conversations he has.
Oslo, August 31st is (loosely) based on the novel Le feu follet (1931) by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, which was filmed in 1963 by Louis Malle. That doesn’t seem to be a coincidence: In his film, Trier (a distant cousin of Lars Von Trier) refers openly to the French nouvelle vague with a deceptive light-footedness, an underlying melancholy and several stylistic elements... but then with the penetrating clarity of Norwegian light and a thoroughly contemporary approach.
Please note: this film is subtitled in Dutch.