Ellen Lande
Ellen is a film director and freelance film critic. She is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.

Even Jesus Was Bipolar succeeds in transcending its theme while posing critical questions about the demands placed on men by consumer society

Even Jesus Was Bipolar

Yamile CalderónEdward Cunniffe

Norway, 2017, 55 minutes


A number of life-affirming movies are currently doing the rounds on Oslo’s more or less alternative scenes. Even Jesus Was Bipolar is an overcoming-all-the-odds story that really stands out, and has already garnered praise in Oslo’s literary and artistic circles through showings at the newly opened Kunstnernes Hus Kino and at Oslo Open.


Hypnotizing footage of the forest draws us in, anticipating the main character’s descent into blindness. The claustrophobic, steaming vegetation similarly provides an ominous warning of things to come. Tight, precise directorial moves like these set Even Jesus Was Bipolar apart from other, similar projects. This imaginative documentary about a man who goes blind and is diagnosed with bipolar disorder grabs the audience by the collar. Besides being both well composed and thoughtful, it has been made entirely outside the established system for financing movies. Has this type of financing liberated the directors from sticking rigidly to their topic? Has it led to a greater willingness to pursue a broader, strongly relevant theme?


In 2014, Yamile Calderón receives a phone call from Colombia while her parents are visiting her in Norway. Her brother isn’t only about to go blind, the placid Hernando has also started behaving like a raving lunatic. Not long after, Calderón decides to make a film about her brother and invites Edward Cunniffe to take part in a collaborative partnership of equals. The duo has worked together on different artistic projects since they met at Bergen’s Academy of Art and Design in 2006. Now they sit down to discuss the visual and narrative strategy for the film. Their project receives a small amount of funding from Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond–enough for plane tickets to Norway and some equipment. At this juncture the duo has already decided on the narrative frame for the movie: they only want to follow Hernando’s point of view, and they want to do so chronologically.

«Hand in hand and with walking sticks at the ready, they feel their way through the chaotic streets of Colombia.»

Sex and Sugar

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