After his globe-crossing effort in "Beautiful Country," Norwegian helmer Hans Petter Moland returns to home turf with offbeat, uneven period piece "Comrade Pedersen." Dramedy tells of a school teacher who falls in with an underground cell of Maoists and then falls for a doctrinaire beauty with anti-bourgeoisie issues. Vibrant perfs from leads Kristoffer Joner in title role and Ane Dahl Torp as his love interest aren't enough to get auds offshore united behind pic's cause. Pic had robust but not revolutionary run at domestic B.O. post February opening.
Between roughly 1968-'75, Knut Pedersen (Joner) morphs from a history teacher in small-town Norway into a spokesman for a Communist insurgent group, the AKP. Although married to long-suffering wife (Linn Skaber), Pedersen begins a torrid affair with fellow comrade Nina (fast-rising thesp Dahl Torp, "URO"). Then, suddenly, out of a mishmash of guilt and principle, Nina denounces herself and Knut as adulterers at a meeting. Tone grows bitter as the group sheds members after Nina persuades them to abandon their white-collar jobs to work in factories. Tech credits are pro, but script runs out of steam.
Camera (color, widescreen), Philip Ogaard; editor, Pal Gengenbach; music, Halfdan E; production designer, Karl Juliusson. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 22, 2006. Running time: 117 MIN.