Cool And Crazy

Cool And Crazy


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

What was the most successful movie in Norwegian cinemas last year? Harry Potter, eat your broomstick! It was a documentary about a male choir from a fishing village on the edge of the Barent sea.

These characters have tales to tell. Some of them are past their sing-by-date, the oldest being 96, and quite a few have sex on the brain. The conductor is younger, fatter and disabled. They pull him on a sledge through the snow.

Copy picture

The fishing industry has been decimated over the last five years. Only one processing factory remains. If jobs are scarce, morale is high. They love their village and the music gives them self-respect. Life can be hard and the weather is foul. Winters go on forever and summers never sleep.

The director, Knut Erik Jensen, likes to photograph the choir against a backdrop of raging waves, or in the teeth of a blizzard, with their voices fighting the elements. Indoors, the harmonies are sweet. As individuals, they are very different, sharing this strange dedication with pride and a sense of humour.

The film is fun, because the idea of grown men, battered by gales from the North Pole, dressed in parkas and perky sailor hats, singing their lungs out on a desolate beach, has a surreal element. Also, it is interesting to discover that the simple life in an isolated community needs no apology. There is the singing, there are the ladies, not to mention a bus trip to Russia, where middle-aged groupies with autograph albums await.

"Why strive for more when you have a fulfilling life?" one of them asks.

Why, indeed.

Reviewed on: 28 Aug 2001
Share this with others on...
Cool And Crazy packshot
Norwegian documentary telling the tale of a male voice choir and its members in the remote fishing village of Berlevag.
Amazon link

Read more Cool And Crazy reviews:

Amber Wilkinson *****

Director: Knut Erik Jensen

Starring: Berlevag Male Choir

Year: 2001

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Norway


EIFF 2001

Search database: