Post-secular salvation: Hallvard Bræin's Gatas Gynt


  • Ellen Rees University of Oslo, Centre for Ibsen Studies



Peer Gynt, Gatas Gynt, film adaptation, post-secularism, identity, homelessness, Salvation Army, drug addiction, social commentary


This article considers Hallvard Bræin’s 2008 film adaptation of Peer Gynt in light of theories of the post-secular. It argues that the film presents a post-secular interpretation of the ambiguous message of salvation at the end of Ibsen’s dramatic poem. Through a combination of analysis of the film itself and examination of its production history, the article evaluates to what degree the film expresses a specifically Christian notion of salvation, and suggests that it opens for non-dogmatic interpretations of what salvation might mean, and who exactly is in need of it in the post-secular era. An examination of the who, what, when, and where of this adaptation (Hutcheon 2006) identifies how the filmmakers use Ibsen’s original text as a vehicle for a specific social message regarding the plight of people suffering from substance abuse and homelessness in contemporary Norway.

Author Biography

Ellen Rees, University of Oslo, Centre for Ibsen Studies

Ellen Rees (Ph.D. University of Washington, 1995) is an associate professor at the University of Oslo’s Centre for Ibsen Studies. Recent books include Cabins in Modern Norwegian Literature: Negotiating Place and Identity (2014) and Ibsen’s Peer Gynt and the Production of Meaning (2014). She has published articles on Nordic cinema and literature in journals such as Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, Edda, Scandinavian Studies, Ibsen Studies, and Scandinavica.




How to Cite

Rees, Ellen. 2015. “Post-secular salvation: Hallvard Bræin’s Gatas Gynt”. Nordlit, no. 34 (February):371–378.