Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Neatly Wrapped Punk Package

It's an old story--to-day's rebellion is to-morrow's establishment. Sometimes, though, the rebellion is simultaneously establishment, which can chafe a bit when you're the kid trying to rebel and your dad (establishment) is always four steps ahead of you on the rebellion scale, as in 2011's Sons of Norway. The film itself is simultaneously rebellion and establishment as, for a film in part about the birth of punk, it is an incredibly un-punk film, presenting a carefully constructed, pleasing tale about a father and son.

The father, Magnus (Sven Nordin), is an intellectual radical, an atheist Communist whom we meet at the beginning of the film gleefully choosing to decorate with bananas for Christmas in order to affirm that humans are apes.

Possibly because of this, Magnus is lit or dressed in yellow or brown for the rest of the film. The whole film has a very controlled aesthetic, which is ironic in a scene where Magnus' son, Nikolaj (Asmund Hoeg) joins a punk band and the lead singer explains punk means not knowing how to play your instruments but playing hard anyway. Meanwhile, the scene is carefully colour corrected to appear greyer and more washed out than scenes with Magnus.

Does a movie need to be punk to be about punk? No, perhaps not. One doesn't get the sense of Nikolaj connecting with the basic philosophy of punk, he just wants a way to shake his dad, who unsettles Nikolaj by his unrestrained grief over the death of his wife, Nikolaj's mother. But one suspects a lot of kids Nikolaj's age got into punk without really understanding the monarchy or complacent consumerism. Magnus does andnaturally he's on-board even more than Nikolaj, which of course frustrates the kid.

Look, another brown corduroy sport coat. I'm really starting to feel good about having one.

The film fixates exclusively on The Sex Pistols--Johnny Rotten even makes a cameo. I'd say at least a third of the Pistols' short catalogue of songs is used on the film's soundtrack. The absence of any other punk band in Nikolaj's heart feels a bit odd, it would have been nice if the film had thrown in some Stranglers, The Clash, maybe The Slits.

Twitter Sonnet #804

Encrusted green mushrooms fell down on dough.
A wave of reddened sauce bespoke the base.
In bread the mozzarella farmer sowed.
Tomato robbed of solid form has grace.
To ovens go the sourdough technique.
The nesting noodles dream of parmesan.
Behold, a grilled repast, c'est magnifique.
A proper pizza's never partisan.
Inhuman garlic deprivation scored.
The traitor heads of bread sticks hang above.
Oregano fed oni sneeze their hoard.
The manicotti rain has calmed the dove.
Inside a pasta shell ricotta lurks.
Surprise lasagne flash rebaked the works.

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