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Goodbye, dream castle

A cultural opponent is dead.


Director Svend Wam has made a new film "Desperate Acquaintances".
Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB / Scanpix

It should be the two towards the world. The two against the social democratic equality hell. The two against a stolen bourgeoisie and a sixty generation who believed they were happy in new uniforms. The two against MLAs who looked to the red China rather than to the gray everyday at Grorud. They decided that, "Nausea and Terrible."

In the 1970 century, Norway looked like the Soviet Union, despite the inclusion of long-haired hippies in castle parks and fishing villages. With Lasse and Geir (1976) came the first taste of what would eventually crush the grayness of the country's heart: the punk. That the punk was going to turn into pastel colored jackets and a party, nobody knew yet.

And now he's dead, one of them opponents; the gentle anarchist.

The dream castle at Frogner. I met him in the middle of the 1990 century, just before he disappeared in his artistic exile in Son and Spain respectively. He remained in his self-imposed exile with the depression and a Parkinson's diagnosis that was only getting worse and worse.

He was open, sensitive, discerning. And most of all, I remember this: I had inherited an old Mazda 323 after my father; a car oslo people something recklessly called "pakis-mazda". One afternoon, I met with filmmaker Frank Mosvold to pick up Svend in Gyldenløve's gate at Frogner in Oslo.

Then the eyes glowed; Svend Wam became young again! For such a thing, he had not been sitting since he was in his twenties. The time he had decided to make the history of Norway.

Frank Mosvold at this time cut what would be Wam's last movie, Desperate
known creator
(1998). The locker room and sound studio were on the basement floor of the large villa we came to. The house had Hieronymus Heyerdahl, the man behind Oslo City Hall, in his time had been built for himself.

One night I stopped by Svend, he told me that King Haakon visited Hieronymus twice a month to play bridge. There was a lot going on here, in Gyldenløves gate 41 – not least the recording of many scenes for the iconic films.

The ground floor of the house was for entertainment and filming. Wam and Vennerød's private rooms were on the second floor, and no one else got in here. I myself would not have known that they existed at all if Club 7's Asbjørn Olsen, who had participated in several admission rounds in the house, had not told me so.

Olsen could tell that he once saw Wenche Foss' tits in the locker rooms in the attic. Then the two had gone down to make breakfast together.

Internal bridal oils. When I think about it, there were no really juicy private scandals around the scandalous movie couple. A handsome young man once claimed in the newspaper that he had been offered a film role in exchange for sex, but something tells me that there is not necessarily much truth behind this claim.

Wam and Vennerød challenged everyone.

There were so many handsome boys in their films, and "Wam and Vennerød boy" is precisely this dark, slender and sinewy young man with a doll-like face. He's ice cold, but he's sexy! The very symbol of the beast in us; what we are attracted to, but which is only aesthetics beyond all ethics.

There could at times be some internal noise around the recordings, which often had its base in the bourgeois villa. A story that was told to me was about some newly purchased paintings that were hung up in the "deck", as it is called in film language.

The female set designer thought the paintings had nothing to do with the stage – and that they were only mounted on the wall so that they could then be part of the film's production budget. Implied that they were actually purchased privately. When the two filmmakers refused to move the paintings, and went on to claim that they were part of the stage, the set designer withdrew from the entire project.

Who had the ethics and aesthetics on their side, the birds must know. And there are still many of them in the green riding alley, which Gyldenløves gate really is. Made so that Queen Maud could ride from the castle to Frognerparken.

The house was Wam and Vennerød's own dream castle, which suited two of the film's princes.

When I met Svend, he lived there alone. The echoes of the old film footage were still in the sparsely furnished rooms. This was the real "House of Film". Here where the 1970s and 80s Shame was made. Author and former film consultant Nikolaj Frobenius believes the series in its aesthetics and "straight up in the face" dimension is similar to the iconic films.

Wam and Vennerød were anarchists at heart, but there was nothing anarchist about the way of life. They followed the admission plans and were known to be careful with the money. The previously mentioned Frank Mosvold said that it was an easy job to cut Desperate acquaintances.

Svend had only recorded exactly what he needed, unlike today's films where every room is cinematically vacuumed at all possible angles, so that the editor is left with a sea of ​​footage. The thousands no longer flutter in the movie port when everything ends up on a voluminous hard drive. As an editor, in this case it was just a matter of laying the recordings one after the other.

Free-spirited culture. Anarchists, yes! Maybe eventually bourgeois, some would argue. Wam and Vennerød – two against the world! – challenged everyone. They were part of the free-spirited cultural movement in Norway which has its roots since King Sverre's time and which goes via people like Kristian Lofthus and Hans Nielsen Hauge. Wam and Vennerød were free thinkers – and they made films about what they meant.

They were political in the "right way," like all true artists; they opposed the truth. The truth about the individual's experience of reality. About the ego's bumpy road through the world.

The iconic Lasse and Geir, which in English received the apt title Them and us. The film is a story about a revolt without goals and meaning; about smoldering forces in young human minds.

Goodbye solidarity (1985) deals with the same types of people, but robbed young people of their hopes and ideals. They have grown up, and are left with only themselves and their petty-bourgeois neuroses. In other words, where most of us end up in the ideal society that became a middle-class factory.

The impulses came from Germany, Svend said. Filmmakers in the 70s and 80s were divided into two camps: Either they drew their inspiration from Werner Herzog or Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Wam and Vennerød were of course Fassbindians, which is systematically recognizable.

Where Herzog was icy cold and observant in movies like Fitzcarraldo (1982), Fassbinder approached with great passionate feelings in Petra von Kants bitre tårer (1972) – without caring that it was theatrical. Here it was to be opera aesthetics for all the money – and an expression of a so-called "gay understanding of life", as the retired film critic Per Haddal called it on NRK P2 the morning Wam's death had recently become known via NTB.

Who was Svend Wam? Both open and closed, like most people who have achieved something. But not occasionally cold, which is also often a hallmark of success. Maybe that's why he withdrew from the limelight when his time was over and the iron generation began to come on the scene. Then it was he against the world.

What has he meant? I try to impress my film script students at Westerdals: Having an agenda of consciously wanting to portray a society is a wonderful starting point.

In the movie dream castle (1986) the adults' dream is shattered, but in the last scene the young people enter a house that is abandoned. As they disappear into the door, the lights in the windows light up until it floods out of the house like a reflection of paradise.

Welcome to the dream castle!
Krutzkoff Jacobsen has recently been employed as a short film consultant at NFI.

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