Brent av Frost (Burnt by Frost)
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With this introduction to Knut Erik Jensen’s second feature film Brent av Frost (Norway 1997), I will not write about the notorious sex scene involving the sea, a boat, and hundreds of slimy newly caught cod. In the context of the film as a whole this scene figures as little more than a footnote. Nevertheless, taken to signify an allegedly typical Northern-Norwegian promiscuity and permissiveness it quickly attracted the attention of (predominantly Southern) mainstream critics and audiences. In many circles the scene is treated as iconic of the film even today and on imdb.com’s full cast & crew entry on Jensen’s film the female character involved is particularly emphasized as ‘naked woman in the boat’, while no other characters are commented upon in any manner. This peculiar reception, I argue, indirectly illustrates the theme of Jensen’s film and its significance for Norwegian memory politics – the misperception and misrepresentations of Northern identities and subjectivities in a centralized political and historical discourse.
This introduction is very much a continuation of the presentation of Jensen’s first feature film Stella Polaris (Norway 1993) during last year’s Filmborders series. Then, I argued that Jensen presents the county of Finnmark as a liminal zone in-between Norway and Russia, rather than a marginal location at the fringes of Norway. From this liminal position, I argued further, both opposing centres can be critically inquired and potentially subverted. In the case of Brent av Frost liminality is played out in relation to a character – Simon (Stig Henrik Hoff) - and his individual life trajectory that makes him repeatedly cross various borders and dividing barriers.
Posed with the question where he comes from, Simon in one scene of the film replies ‘I am from Korsfjord… and the sea beyond’. Here the film’s main character articulates a local identity that is grounded in access to the renewable resources of the sea that have nurtured life along the coast for millennia. Throughout the ensuing narrative this local identity is repeatedly challenged and threatened by external historical events – the German occupation, the liberation by the Red Army, NATO membership, and the capitalization of maritime resources. These external events threaten the locally based identity of the main character and force Simon again and again to renegotiate allegiances. This is often achieved through the crossing of borders – between Norway and the Soviet Union, between legality and illegality, between NATO and the Warsaw pact.
Through these crossings the locally based, liminal character of Simon implicitly challenges and partly subverts the dominant hegemonic frames that are maintained in and through a relation of mutually exclusive constitutiveness – including a hegemonic Norwegian political and historical discourse pertaining to World War II, national cold war allegiances, and economic globalization. The above mentioned overemphasis on one particular sex scene precisely directs attention away from the subversive, liminal potentials of the presented narrative and securely confine it with reference to an inherently colonial centralized discourse that draws a suggestive chain of equivalence between the North and an unadorned life close to the bosom of nature, thus successfully veiling the subversive alternatives posed by the various different and competing identities of actual people dwelling in the North.
Holger Pötzsch, IKL/UiT.
Pötzsch vil holde innledning før filmen.
Arrangør: Universitetet i Tromsø