Thursday, March 9, 2023

Night Ride

 This Norwegian Short Film Could Make LGBTQ+ Oscars History

"Night Ride" is nominated for
 Best Live Action Short Film at the 2023 Academy Awards.

On a cold December night, Ebba accidentally hijacks a tram.
s she begins to pick up passengers, conflict arises in a way she didn’t expect, in Eirik Tveiten’s “Night Ride.”

The Motion Picture Academy has been awarding live-action shorts for nearly a century, and yet only one LGBTQ+ title has ever won an Oscar in the category: 1994’s Trevor, a film about a bullied gay teenager that became the namesake of The Trevor Project. That could finally change this year with the nomination of Night Ride (Nattrikken), a film from Norwegian writer-director Eirik Tveiten that takes several surprising turns in just 16 minutes. Simultaneously a comedic tale of accidental crime and an exploration of gender identity, Night Ride manages to pack big questions about the responsibility of allies into its short runtime.

The film takes place on a snowy evening as Ebba (Sigrid Kandal Husjord), a woman of short stature, finds herself stranded and freezing outside a transit stop. Looking for shelter, she sneaks onto an unattended tram to stay warm. Curiosity gets the better of her as she presses a few buttons to turn the lights on, but then the tram creaks into life and takes off through Norway's dark, snowy streets, leaving Ebba no choice but to strap in for the ride.

Passengers begin to board the tram, assuming Ebba is the driver, but when the inadvertent vandal takes a look in the rearview mirror, the journey turns sour. Ariel (Ola Hoemsens Sandum), a trans woman heading home, is minding her own business when two men – Allan (Axel Barø Aasen) and Benjamin (Jon Vegard Hovdal) – begin to ridicule her. Ebba is put in a precarious position: does she stay silent or speak up? And how can a woman who is herself marginalized stop the harassment? As the claustrophobic tram creeps forward into the night, the tension brews. The film turns to the viewer, much as John Quiñones might, to ask, “What would you do?”


In addition to bringing Norwegian LGBTQ+ voices to the fore, Night Ride has the potential of nabbing a lauded gold statue very soon. The Academy’s recognition has left Tveiten “in disbelief and delight.” In addition to the “overwhelming” reception for the short film, which is currently screening at select theaters nationwide, the nomination alone is cause for celebration. 

“To be recognized at such a high level is all anyone in this business can hope for,” Tveiten noted. “It means a lot.”

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