On July 22, 2011, an armed, right-wing extremist attacked more than 500 youths at a political summer camp on an island outside Oslo.
U – July 22 is a fictionalised account of the attack from the perspective of the young victims of Utøya. Erik Poppe, the esteemed director of The King’s Choice (Scandi FF 2017) channels his outrage into this drama, which has been created in dialogue with survivors. Among the many indignities of the tragedy is the fact that the media were the first to arrive at the scene that day, and since, the perpetrator has been granted much attention in the press.
The film primarily takes place on Utøya, where we meet 19-year-old Kaja who is spending a few days of the holiday there with her young sister Emilie. The two are quarrelling because Emilie is in no mood for the camp and has no desire to go to the barbecue. And so Kaja ends up going alone. Suddenly, the first gunshot is heard. This first shot marks the beginning of a breathless 72-minute-long (the actual duration of the attack) reconstruction of events, filmed in a single take, as seen through the eyes of the victims as the unknown assassin gets closer and closer.