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‘The Worst Person in the World’: Joachim Trier: ‘The monogamous are the real romantic heroes of our time’ | Culture

Norwegian director Joachim Trier, in November 2021.
Norwegian director Joachim Trier, in November 2021.Alamy Stock Photo

After two movies abroad, Norwegian film director Joachim Trier has returned home with The Worst Person in the World. It’s the third movie, along with Reprise (2006) and Oslo, August 31st (2011), in his so-called “Oslo Trilogy.” As well as being set in the Norwegian capital, the movie also follows the same narrative process of those two films: observing one single life under a microscope until an understanding is gained about what makes it at once unique and universal. “I wanted to return to my beginnings, to the time of my first project Reprise, which I filmed 15 years ago. Repeating myself scared me, but I told myself that at my age, I had a right to,” says Trier, 47, in a video call from his home in Oslo.

The Worst Person in the World, which is nominated for the Oscar for Best International Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay, is a portrait in 12 chapters of Julie, a slightly lost twentysomething who keeps making career changes (doctor, psychologist, photographer) as quickly as she changes boyfriends. But in Aksel, a brilliant if somewhat self-centered cartoonist, she has found the perfect partner. That is, if it were not for the age difference: he is at a stage where he wants children, but she doesn’t feel ready yet. Their relationship is tested with the arrival of Eivind, a young waiter with no grand pretensions in life. He becomes Julie’s lover, and in one scene worthy of a Stanley Donen musical, she is seen running across the city to meet him as the rest of the world stands still. “It was a good moment to film this movie,” says Trier. “I have enough experience and I have been on both sides: I have been the young person who doesn’t want kids and the older man who begins to feel the need for children and a home. I have been Aksel, but also Julie.”

The Worst Person in the World can be seen as a new twist on the traditional romantic comedy, a genre which in the hands of Trier – who is considered one of the leading directors of European art film along with Yorgos Lanthimos, Ruben Östlund and Mia Hansen-Løve to name a few – becomes bitter or even tragic. “Many of the great films in the history of cinema can be seen as romantic comedies, from The Philadelphia Story by George Cukor to Annie Hall by Woody Allen, as well as the work of Éric Rohmer [director of My Night at Maud’s]. It’s a genre that allows everything: lightness and musicality, but also an existential premise and deep character work,” says Trier. “It’s the type of cinema that I miss. Today, I see many manufactured, artificial movies. I wanted to simply make a human film, containing the dramas and comedies of life.” For the director, the real theme of the movie is the “ongoing negotiation between our imagined lives, what we had in mind when we were young, and the reality of existence,” including death. “In reality, we don’t have a lot of time ahead of us.”

The romantic comedy genre, dismissed for lacking substance, began to decline at the end of the 1990s. Trier blames this demise in mainstream cinema on the “homogeneity of romantic portraits,” which he attributes to the rise of social media. “Facebook and Instagram have limited the representation of the romantic ideal. We see it in the photos of couples with hashtags such as ‘life is good,’ ‘love wins’ or ‘I feel blessed.’ Movies have tried to reproduce this vision, when love is assuredly the most complicated thing that exists,” he says.

The Worst Person in the World also addresses one of society’s biggest taboos: adultery. “I think, like British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, that the monogamous are the real romantic heroes of our time. They are the ones who resist the infinite possibility of swiping [on dating apps] and having sex with a limitless number of people. I did not want to judge that, but the movie talks about loving oneself, more than finding a partner.” The Worst Person in the World also examines the issue of growing up, even if it’s at age 30 or 40. “The classic Bildungsroman coming-of-age stories were about protagonists who were between 16 and 20 years old. Now maturity arrives much later. It’s even possible for us to continually be going through this process. It could be that the definitive step towards maturity doesn’t happen until we are confronted with our own death,” says Trier.

The director’s penchant for digression is also rare to find in contemporary cinema, which is guided by linear frameworks with the exception of some filmmakers. “I love directors like Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson and Alain Resnais, who use all possible narrative resources to get to the bottom of what they want to say,” says Trier. “Digression reflects the modern sensibility. I suppose I am the typical post-modern guy who continues to believe that we are fragmented beings. I do everything possible not to focus on the plot. The idea of the plot has taken hold of today’s cinema and television. I love a good detective story, but the narrative can’t dominate everything.”

In The Worst Person in the World, Trier breaks up the movie with scenes that aren’t connected with the narrative heart of the film, such as a monologue on the changing nature of culture and the generational differences regarding the #MeToo movement against sexism.

There is also a moral dimension to the movie, one that is very particular to a Scandinavian director like Trier and linked to guilt. “Guilt emanates from two aspects. On the one hand, the wealth of Norway, the exemplary image of democratic and economic success of which we are so proud of, although we know it all comes from oil. That explains why I don’t have a driver’s license: it’s a useless gesture, but it’s my way of symbolically channeling it,” says Trier. “Secondly, the legacy of Scandinavian Protestantism, always so virtuous, whose sense of blame I have assimilated despite being a complete atheist.”

When it comes to his Oscar chances, Trier says it’s not keeping him awake at night. All signs indicate that the prize will go to Drive My Car. “If it wins, it deserves it. And also Flee, I liked that a lot. It would be fair.” It’s a lesson taught in Norwegian schools: it’s not about winning, it’s all about taking part.



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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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