I identified her online inside of 20 minutes. She’s real. As these things go. btw at Netflix you can get an English translation. If you don’t know Norwegian.
Not like it’s some kind of spouse abuse. We’ve been watching Scandinavian movies and TV series for quite a while now. We like the intellect behind the writing we see, but we’re also baffled by the people being depicted. There’s a lassitude, a dense unwillingness to engage with critical situations and dangerous people that we just don’t recognize. Don’t mean to be abstract. The Scandinavians tend to just sit there when the shit is hitting the fan. Or they go slow in coming to the rescue when rescue is urgently, desperately needed. Even their heroes are always late, plodding, and diffident in the face of impending catastrophe.
Except for Annika Bengzton (pardon the awful French dubbing in this clip), whose show turned us on to all the other Scandinavians. My wife liked The Eagle, which I couldn’t watch because it was so dense and slow and complicated. But we both liked Lilyhammer, an American take on the difference between passive stupidity and action oriented stupidity (the former Norwegian, the latter American). And we soldiered on through Wallander (not the BBC version) together, perhaps for different reasons. She liked the stories. I liked the fact that he hated everyone without ever showing it openly. The last Viking. Gone a’glimmering. I guess it’s fair to say we endured the native language version of the Dragon Tattoo trilogy because we had grown used to Scandinavian inability to recognize emergency and had learned to wait for what they peculiarly conceive of as justice. Which might or might not just happen.
Then I found this one, a maybe horror movie though not really. It put the Scandinavian detachment front and center, to such an extreme that one of the protagonists says barely a hundred words in the whole picture.
There’s a perfect scene which exemplifies everything we grate our teeth about in Scandinavian films. The silent guy, with excellent contextual rationale, tells his partner, “Don’t touch ANYTHING.” Whereupon he leaves the room and his partner immediately starts fiddling with the knobs of a radio set, repeatedly, obsessively, irrationally. There is never any penalty for this kind of disconnect in a Scandinavian movie. Apparently, no one ever expects anyone to pay attention to anything he says. When the bad thing happens there is never an “I told you so” moment. There is only silence.
Inert silence is the Scandinavian default. They’re done in by the modern condition, too many generations of Ingemar Bergman movies and plays by Ibsen and Strindberg.
Except that there’s something underneath all that, a damaged, maybe even amputated, vitality.
Indeed, amputation is a big part of The movie Thale. But for once we’re not subjugated by the Nordic welfare state, even though it rears its head in the most frightening possible way in the climax of the film. Instead, we are returned to the mythic past of a Norway that just barely exists anymore. Whence the Vikings? Whence the Norse passion? Here. On a shoestring budget. The detached are reattached. The past consumes the present. The old ways win.
Yeah. She liked it too.