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On November 30th (the date when King Karl XII died) there will usually be demonstrations by hyper-national and neo-Nazi groups, and also democratic counter demonstrations. The plot of "West Side Story" is transferred to the Stockholmian suburb Alby where many immigrants live. But the film is no plagiarism, in particular no so because many scenes have the intensive character of live transmission. The boy (Adam) belongs to a Nazi group whose racial attitude is foremost directed against immigrants with 'wrong' colour of hair or skin. The girl (Julia) belongs to a family of political fugitives from Peru. Adam and Julia immediately fall in great and reciprocal love, and there are highly emotional love scenes. Therefore Adam breaks with his group. But when his best friend is killed by Julia's brother, he kills the brother. In turn the couple is hunted by the police and Julia's relatives. Both Adam and Julia are finally murdered. The film takes no step toward reconciliation.Written by
Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
'West Side Story' and '30:e November' Have Exactly the Opposite Merits and Shortcomings.
On November 30th 1718 the Swedish king Karl XII died. He is primarily known because of his incessant wars aimed at increasing the territory of the Swedish nation, although the actual result of these wars was an enormous reduction of the territory. Nevertheless, Karl XII is highly admired by hyper-national and neo-nazi groups, and every year they perform a demonstration on that date. There may also be democratic counter demonstrations, and it may be a tough job for the police to keep both groups apart. - The action of 'West Side Story' (of course without the music) is transplanted to Stockholm and its suburb Alby in which numerous immigrants live. But the new film is definitely not a plagiarism. - The boy (Adam) belongs to a nazi group, whose racial attitude is foremost directed against immigrants with 'wrong' colour of hair or skin. The girl (Julia) belongs to a family of political fugitives from Peru. - The briefest characterisation would be that 'West Side Story' and '30:e November' have exactly the opposite merits and shortcomings. No negative surplus meaning is intended when I say that every detail of West Side Story is through and through stylised. The fights are choreographic, and the representatives of the authority are theatre policemen. When Tony sings 'Maria', the background incessantly changes, and it does so in a way which can only be realised in a film studio. Etc. - By contrast, every detail of '30:e November' is so realistic that one may feel discomfort. Racist policemen beat up immigrants for no reason. A nazi throws a bomb on the democrats, which fortunately does not explode. Sometimes the action proceeds by a reporter asking questions to the spokesman of the police. Sometimes the TV news reporter repeatedly interrupts his account as further events or more serious consequences of some specific event become known. The director often presents the kinds of scenes which would indeed have occurred, if the main events had been real. - Against this background Adam and Julia meet, and their feelings evolve. Often the photo is unusually poetic when they are alone and away from the turmoil. The director has a great capacity for perceiving highly poetic qualities in simple things, such as a girl walking through a grove. - But both of them will be murdered. The movie takes no step toward reconciliation. - I do not expect other people to share my evaluation. Nevertheless, if given the choice, I would rather see '30:e November' than 'West Side Story'.
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