A documentary about an elderly Norwegian male voice choir might not sound like a recipe for box-office gold, but Knut Eric Jensen's Cool And Crazy has been a smash hit in Norway and a festival favourite across Europe.
Set in the remote northern fishing village of Berlevag, this subtle, respectful film intersperses interviews with the choir's alfresco musical recitals. The group's diverse characters include a wheelchair-bound conductor, a sprightly nonagenarian, a reformed drug addict, a staunch communist and a phlegmatic fisherman, yet what unites them is their love of singing and their stoicism in the face of life's endless vicissitudes. For despite appalling weather conditions, economic downturns and personal bereavements, these sturdy men have never abandoned their values of community, friendship and solidarity.
Travelling to a concert in Murmansk, they're moved to tears not just by the giant war memorials, but by the sight of the polluted landscapes. As one of them laments, "We're supposed to love the land and we treat it like this."
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