Beat up punk rock legend Otto, of "Otto's Speedway Action Organ", finally gets another gig in Haugesund on Norway's west coast. He gets his father's car, a 1969 model Opel Diplomat, out of ... See full summary »
Beat up punk rock legend Otto, of "Otto's Speedway Action Organ", finally gets another gig in Haugesund on Norway's west coast. He gets his father's car, a 1969 model Opel Diplomat, out of hock, and proceeds to drive from Oslo to Haugesund. But he never gets to Haugesund. In Telemark, in Norway's heartland, he meets up with Pakistani "roots researcher" Farida. Who, complete with a broad Telemark accent, a Telemark surname, a cellular phone, and a laptop computer, makes a business out of finding Norwegian relatives in Telemark, for Americans desperately searching for roots. His car gets stolen by locals lusting for its Chevy V8 engine, and he ends up with an old Chevy Impala, traveling the labyrinths of roads that make up Telemark. Written by
Steinar Bang <email@example.com>
This is the kind of movie you either love or you simply can't understand. Being from the county of Telemark myself, I belong to the first category. Otto, an urban rockabilly-punk from Oslo chooses the wrong way when traveling to Haugesund and is, suddenly, stuck in the middle of Telemark. When he needs to have his old car fixed, he meets his destiny - the am-car club in Seljord, which is one of the, if not the, largest am-car club in Norway for real, although less than 3.000 people live in Seljord. And upon seeing the engine of his car, they decide to fool him in order to get their hands on the engine.
So what is funny about the movie? There is this clip from the roundabout in the town Bø where a car drives around in it with a small wooden cottage on its trailer. Not funny, you say? Well, then you have never been to Bø. I have never seen an image describing the countryside in Telemark in a better way. Or when Otto tries to get a gig at the club Roots in Bø, and is told that they don't play that kind of music there. If you know about the culture in Bø, and particularly the strong division between the natives (about 5.300) and the students at the university college, which for some reason is located there (about 1.600), this seemingly unnoticeable comment becomes really funny.
The tag-line of the movie is "It's a hell not having a car in Telemark". And Telemark is known for its "cruisers" - people driving cars, preferably American, but also German cars, for no reason other than driving and hanging out at gas stations or parking lots. At least in the countryside, that is an important part of the culture, and it, if not practicing it, knowing about it is mainstream. An additional aspect in this respect in the movie is the character Farida Svalastog, a name which is, in itself, quite contradictory, who seems like the least likely person to be into this, but who still is.
The cultural clash is also an important aspect. Otto seems to have little respect for their culture, but he also has little knowledge - not only about cars, but when Farida tells him Haukelifjellet is closed due to snow, whereas the movie is recorded in September or so, and he believes it, he shows that he knows little of things outside of Oslo. The attitude is mutual, the locals don't seem to appreciate him either, and the plot largely circles around this clash. 'Cos in the end, even though not having a car in Telemark is hell, it can also be the other way around.
To my knowledge, the movie is not available on neither VHS nor DVD. I once recorded it from TV, and when I got a DVD-recorder, this was the first movie I copied onto DVD. And that was not a coincidence - provided that you do understand it, this movie can be seen over and over again.
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