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Fengselsbrev is based on the correspondence between Arnljot Berg and his two youngest children while he was imprisoned in the notorious La Santé prison in Paris in 1975-1976 accused of having killed his third wife, Evelyne Zammit Berg, Lene Berg’s stepmother.
In the film, Lene Berg’s little brother Marius Sheamus Berg reads her father’s letter and a young girl, Ingrid Olivia Bjerknes, reads nine-year-old Lene Berg’s letter to her father.
Fengselsbrev is part of a larger project with the umbrella title FROM FATHER where Lene Berg takes as a starting point the relationship with her father, the film director and writer Arnljot Berg (1931 – 1982) and his life and fate.
When Lene Berg started the project “From Father”, she remembered that she and her brother regularly wrote letters to their father while he was in prison, but she could not remember if he ever replied. During her research, she discovered a large stack of letters from her father, and also that he had kept all the letters and drawings she and her brother had sent him during the two years he was in prison.
Lene Berg, born 1965, is a Norwegian film director and visual artist based in Berlin and Oslo. Her main media is film and moving image, but her artistic praxis also includes installation, collage, photography, and text; and she has produced a number of projects in public space. She studied film at Dramatiska Institutet in Stockholm and has directed four independently produced feature films as well as a number of short films and mixed-media artworks and installations for galleries, museums, and public spaces. Berg’s autobiographical film False Belief premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019 and was nominated for the Amnesty and Teddy Award. She represented Norway in the 55th Venice Biennale with the film Dirty Young Loose (2013). In 2022 she did the Festival Exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall, which is considered the most important solo presentation of a Norwegian artist in the country. In 2023 she published her first novel, Fra far/From father at Kolon.
Berg’s work has been shown at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter; Konsthall C, Stockholm; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Art in General, New York. She has participated in a number of group exhibitions and biennales such as Manifesta; the Biennale of Sydney; the Taipei Biennial; Contour Mechelen and Transmediale Berlin.