Paul Greengrass’ ’22 July’ Shows ‘How Norway Fought for Democracy’ (Video)

TIFF 2018: “This unprecedented shift to the far right is occurring today. It’s right in front of our eyes,” Greengrass tells TheWrap

Paul Greengrass’ latest film “22 July” tells the story of a mass shooting in 2011 in Oslo, Norway, but he feels that the tragedy speaks both globally and to life in 2018.

“I wanted to make a film about how Norway responded to a right-wing terrorist attack, how Norway fought for democracy, because I think that’s first of all an inspiring story, it’s a story of our times,” Greengrass told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at TIFF. “This unprecedented shift to the far right is occurring today. It’s right in front of our eyes. It’s a problem across Europe and across North America.”

Greengrass said he knew he wanted to make the film when he saw the testimony of the right-wing terrorist depicted in the film, Anders Behring Breivik, and was shocked to see how his worldview has become widely adopted.

“In 2011 that would’ve been considered outrageous as a worldview. Today it’s entirely mainstream,” Greengrass said. “His rhetoric, his worldview now, is mainstream. That shows you how dramatic and ongoing this shift to the right, toward nativism, nationalism and all the rest of it [is].”

The film depicts the terrorist attack, but the bulk of “22 July” takes place largely in the aftermath, showing how Norwegians responded to terrorism in the wake of a tragedy. Greengrass additionally shot the film in Norway with an entirely Norwegian cast and crew in order to capture the soul of the country. But he reiterated that “22 July” is a “global” story and should be a wake-up call for everyone.

“I was trying to find a way of addressing this shift for the right and what it meant for my children. As a filmmaker you try to find ways of holding a mirror up to the world,” Greengrass said. “We are going to have to learn, particularly young people, to fight for the democratic way, to fight for a civilized society, in the face of a right-wing threat.

Watch TheWrap’s interview with Greengrass above. “22 July” will be available on Netflix Oct. 10.