‘The worst person in the world’ reveals Oslo in detail
Caitlin Quinlan: You wrote the character of Julie, the protagonist of your last film, The worst person in the world thinking of actress Renate Reinsve.
Joachim Treves: Yes, it’s always been easy for Renate to talk about experiences of love and existence – we often hang around at parties having in-depth discussions about existential choices or negotiating intimacy – so I knew that She was curious about the subject, and I felt sure I could explain to her before it was written. I talked about Julie as a character with big dreams and life expectations. Above all, I asked Renate to believe that I knew what I was doing – and luckily she did. Showing her the script was a tense moment for both of us, but she really enjoyed reading it and felt it was very accurate.
QC: Was there anything she did to make the character her own that surprised you?
JT: Some actors worry when a character lacks definition or nuance, but Renate embraced it. It has become a quality of the story we tell. I was just challenging her to to be Julie and trust that it would work.
QC: As part of your ‘Oslo Trilogy‘, how do you see this movie compared to Reprise  and Oslo, August 31 ? It seems to me that The worst person in the world is an uplifting addition and marks a coming of age for the trilogy.
JT: It’s been more than 15 years since I made Reprise, the first work of the trilogy, so obviously I evolved as a filmmaker at that time. And Oslo has also changed as a city. Oslo, August 31 is a devastatingly sad film in many ways. I grew up in the 90s in the skateboarding scene, being a Norwegian skateboarding champion, making skateboarding videos and hanging out with a really cool bunch of people, living on the fringes of what would be considered a normal existence. . I really enjoyed those years, but then I evolved: I went to film school while many of my friends became writers or got regular jobs. Others didn’t have such a good time; I lost a lot of friends because of drugs. But, between my late thirties and forties, I realized that there is a lot of hope in life, and so it is. The worst person in the world took shape.
QC: As someone interested in psychogeography – urban spaces and the way people and characters exist within them – I find that the ‘Oslo Trilogy‘ a fascinating time capsule. Did you come to understand the city differently during the making of these films?
JT: As a filmmaker, I have created a subjective Oslo – an Oslo that will never exist outside of these films and from my point of view. It’s interesting to capture the spirit of a place: how to photograph a space that you love? It’s the very essence of making movies. It sounds abstract, but it’s actually very specific: capturing the emotion of a street corner, for example, and realizing how mood speaks through space. It is often unsaid, but it feels. That’s what’s exciting about film. The ‘Oslo Trilogy‘ changed my relationship with the city and made it even more of a home because I spent so much time in those spaces – hanging out with the crew on street corners, having lunch, people watching. I now know Oslo in every detail.
QC: The worst person in the world particularly resonates with audiences in their thirties, who are trying to navigate the same kind of relationships, career choices, and moments of uncertainty as Julie. Do you detach from the film once you have given it to an audience?
JT: You don’t have to cling to a film, I want it to have a life of its own. I don’t watch my movies again; I deliberately let go to move on and create a new one. Of course, I am very grateful for the attention my work receives and the excellent articles written about it. Paul Thomas Anderson and Barack Obama are both registered The worst person in the world among their favorite movies of 2021, which I didn’t expect but which makes me incredibly happy.
QC: We could compare Julie to the protagonist of her own film Licorice Pizza  and the main character, also named Julie, in Joanna Hogg’s The memory: part two . The three female leads are going through something of a midlife crisis.
JT: I like both Memory and Licorice Pizza. The subtlety and tenderness of these universes and these characters is precisely what fascinates me in cinema. For me, that’s cinema – trying to capture the subjectivity of memory and experience. That’s all I care about.
Joachim Treves The worst person in the world is available to watch in UK cinemas from £25and March 2022
Main image: Joachim Trèves, The worst person in the world, 2021, movie still. Courtesy of Mubi UK