I think I was the first to stand up and cheer when the directors of the Norwegian movie "Kon-Tiki" took the stage at the Aero Theatre last night. Joachim Roenning & Espen Sandberg's movie is an epic dramatization of Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 journey. It is gripping, absurdly beautiful, full of humor and the actors are superb. Heyerdahl's journey is the stuff of legends and every Norwegian schoolboy know the story. We were taken every summer by my grandfather to the KonTiki museum in Oslo where we marvelled and ogled and never tired of it. The beauty of this film is the focus on the characters and the realtionship between the men as opposed to the science of it.
Read Anne Thompson's review here.
It is in many ways the perfect Norwegian story. That of a brave man on a Holy Grail-type adventure, set against the backdrop of nature and questioning man's relationship with his world. Norway is a nation of nature lovers. There is a line in the film I love, (and I hope I quote this correctly); when they are on the raft nearly 100 days in and almost all conversation has ceased because there is no need for words, the men are lying on the deck at night in a star-shaped formation looking up at the sky and one of them says:
"Maybe nature has accepted us now, like the birds or the fishes."Curiously, one of the major themes in the film is Heyerdahl's inability to swim and yet he sets out on his journey regardless. I've never met a Norwegian who couldn't swim or couldn't ski. I believe they are born able to breathe in saltwater, like fish.
I am very, very proud to be (half) Norwegian.
** You can read Knut Haugland's obituary here. He was one of Heyerdahl's fellow adventurers and his life reads like a Boy's Own manual.