O'HORTEN (Bent Hamer). 90 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (June 5). For venues and times, see times. Rating: NNNN
Scrupulously observed and crisply shot, this entrancing, eccentric comedy paints a wistful picture of Odd Horten (Baard Owe), a routine-bound train engineer whose retirement after 40 years sends him a little off track.
After a farewell party where his colleagues give him the railroad salute (they stand and imitate the sound of a locomotive) and play Norwegian train trivia, his life turns surreal. He meets a child who mimics the sound of a train on the drums, goes to a restaurant where the cook is arrested, and befriends a cheery inventor genius who drives his car around town by memory with his eyes closed.
Like M. Hulot, Horten smokes a pipe. And like Tati, director Bent Hamer builds his warm humour on physical observation.