Livet är en schlager

In the midst of an otherwise busy weekend I managed to fit in two of the films screening as part of the Nordic Film Festival.

Yesterday, Graeme, Grant and I went to see “Mannen som elsket Yngve”, literally “The Man Who Loved Yngve”. It’s a “coming of age” story from Norway with a difference. The lead character, played by an actor who looked a lot like Danny Bonaduce from The Partridge Family, is about seventeen or eighteen years old. Living in a small town in Norway in the late 1980s, he is part of a rock band with dreams of international success. He has a girlfriend, but he also has a crush on a new boy in town, Yngve. Of course it all goes terribly wrong, as he manages to alienate his friends and family, as he goes through his own internal struggles. The film jumps around a bit with a series of flashbacks almost indiscernable from the narrative, and after the film Graeme asked, “Did you understand the last ten minutes?” At the time, neither Grant nor I did.

Tonight’s film, “Livet är en schlager”, literally “Life is a pop song”, though translated into English as “Once in a lifetime” was much more straightforward. And a much more enjoyable film. It’s a “star is born” kind of film about a woman who enters the Swedish finals of the Eurovision Song Contest, “Melodifestivalen”. Helena Bergström plays the lead character who works caring for a man with a disability, has an unemployed husband, a transexual brother, and four daughters she has named after famous Swedish singers. So, she has a bit on her plate, you might say. All of the main characters are completely rounded, wonderfully enchanting people. The film also worked for me on several levels: the Swedish pop, the gratuitous shots of Stockholm, and the background “cultural knowledge” I now have which helped me enjoy the movie perhaps more than I would have several years ago. In fact, there were times in the movie when the three of us laughed before even the Swedish speakers, because we had that additional layer of cultural knowledge. But that said, you don’t need to be a fan of Eurovision or Melodifestivalen to appreciate the film, as it’s a great story of the triumph of the under-dog.

Coming home tonight, I decided it was time to hop online and really concentrate on booking my airline tickets for next year. And guess what? It’s done. I’m heading off on March 3rd, arriving in Stockholm just in time to head off to Örebro for Andra Chansen.

“Once in a lifetime”…

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