, 96min, norOmeU
Compared to those of some other occupied territories or puppet states, the Norwegian resistance movement was much smaller in size and demanded far fewer victims, although the stakes were extremely high nevertheless, Norway being one of the epicenters of the Nazi nuclear weapons program. After the war, Norway produced a series of films that celebrated both armed and unarmed resistance to the Quisling regime. The finest example of this – and also the most enduringly popular film the nation has ever produced – is Arne Skouen’s NI LIV, based on the writings of British naval officer David Armine Howarth, who maintained a clandestine link between Scotland and Norway during World War II. Both narratives depict the heroics of Jan Baalsrud, a British-trained commando in the Norwegian resistance, who once spent two uninterrupted months on the run from the Nazis while suffering from terrible cold, hunger, and even snow blindness. He could not have survived without the help of the courageous Norwegian people, who undertook tremendous risks by hiding and feeding him. Skouen’s survival tale is at once grim and hopeful and was decades ahead of its time in its methodic minimalism and visceral depiction of all the hell and high waters that Baalsrud endured. It still stands taller and prouder than any other film about Norwegian commandos on skis to this day.
With an introduction by Stephen Howarth.