Quivitoq (1956) Denmark’s Oscar Nominated Drama, Directed by Erik Balling

Erik Balling directed Qivitoq (English: The Mountain Hiker), a Danish romantic drama, starring Poul Reichhardt and Astrid Villaume.

Qivitoq – Fjeldgængeren

1956 Movie Poster

The movie was filmed entirely on location in Greenland.

Young teacher Eva Nygaard (Astrid Villaume) arrives in Greenland from Denmark to surprise her fiance, Doctor Erik Halsøe. But she is crushed that he has not waited for her and he is about to be married to his nurse.

Eva travels to a small fishing village to await the next ship back to Denmark. There she enters into a tense and often confrontational relationship with Jens (Poul Reichhardt), a moody Dane who manages a trading company outpost.

Jens is trying to persuade a Greenlander named Pavia (Niels Platou) to become a company fisherman, despite Pavia’s fear of alienating his fellow villagers and upsetting the spirit, Qivitoq.

Eva helps Jens treat a boy who was attacked by dogs, and Jens realizes he loves her. Before he can tell her, he learns that Pavia in his new boat is in danger. Jens and Pavia’s girlfriend, Naja (Dorthe Reimer), travel overland to rescue him, but Jens falls into an icy crevice and is rescued by Pavia instead.

Pavia returns to a hero’s welcome in the village. Jens hastens back only to discover he is too late, that the boat that Eva had been awaiting has already sailed.

Dejected, Jens goes home and discovers Eva is there waiting for him.

It was nominated both for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and for the Palme D’Or at the 1957 Cannes Film Fest.

Poul Reichhardt as Jens Lauritzen
Astrid Villaume as Eva Nygaard
Gunnar Lauring as Marius Mariboe
Randi Michelsen as Fru Mariboe
Bjørn Watt-Boolsen as Dr. Erik Halsøe
Kirsten Rolffes as Sygeplejerske Kirsten Prage
Niels Platou as Pavia
Dorthe Reimer as Naja
Justus Larsen as Nuka
Johanne Larsen as Cæcilie
Edward Sivertsen as Zakarias


Directed by Erik Balling
Written by Leck Fischer
Music by Svend Erik Tarp
Cinematography Poul Pedersen
Edited by Carsten Dahl
Distributed by Nordisk Film Kompagni

Running time: 118 minutes