sailor of war
TIFF Contemporary World Cinema Section
Reviewed for Shockya.com by Abe Friedtanzer
Director: Gunnar Vikene
Screenwriter: Gunnar Vikene
Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Pal Sverre Hagen, Ine Marie Wilmann
Screening at: Critics’ link, NY, 9/20/22
Opening: September 9e2022 (Toronto International Film Festival)
There are many facets to war, and one person’s experience can be radically different from another’s. Battles can be fought far from a continent, so the citizens of a particular country or region will feel the pressure of available goods and personnel, as well as the loss of their own people, but will not be present for the destruction itself as it takes place elsewhere. Those who serve in such a setting have heartbreaking and unforgettable experiences that they cannot truly pass on to others and may never fully recover from.
Freddy (Kristoffer Joner) and Kvalen (Pål Sverre Hagen) are Norway’s best friends before World War II hits them, and they leave together to serve at sea. While Norway is occupied by Nazi Germany, Freddy and Kvalen navigate multiple ships, delivering cargo to ports around the world, continually on the move and unsure of what’s next. Back home, Freddy’s wife, Cecilia (Ine Marie Wilmann), struggles to care for their two children with no guarantees that Freddy’s salary to support her family will actually arrive and that her husband will one day come back from this world war that lasted several years.
sailor of war is an arduous, two-and-a-half-hour story about two men who simply go where they’re told, with no hope of getting the results they want for their lives. That’s not to say they don’t try to touch them, in one case earning their captain’s scorn for demanding the ship be stopped so they can save those who were screaming with water. who would otherwise have been left to die. They care about their country and especially the people they serve with, but they are well aware of the futility of war and that what they do may accomplish nothing.
What sailor of war best translated is infinity of service, how these two men leave home before things get bad in Norway, not knowing what their tenure will be like. Once at sea, they have nothing to do but move on, fighting to stay alive and protect those they care about most and the allied forces they have pledged to fight with. . With desertion comes a sense of unforgivable shame and, in many cases, severe penalties for both the soldier and his or her family back home. It’s especially shocking how Freddy and Kvalen are seen by some as unfaithful to the cause despite the incredible sacrifices they both make on its behalf.
sailor of warThe title best sums up its content, which is immersive and global. While Freddy and Kvalen are at sea, it feels like they couldn’t be anywhere else, and then the film cuts back to their home in Bergen where Cecilia receives only fleeting news of their fate and condition. There are some particularly powerful and tense moments when disaster and death seem imminent and the reliability of information causes problematic miscommunications that shape actions and behaviors.
This side of the story is both disturbing and informative, because people – and governments – operate on the intelligence at their disposal, and the fact that so much is distorted or blatantly incorrect means that hundreds lives can be lost for no reason. sailor of waras another TIFF input, In the west, nothing is newcaptures the devastating nature of being at war, simultaneously honoring the commitments of those in service while blaming the surrounding conflict as filled with needless loss of life that surely could have been avoided.
History – B+
Interim – B+
Technical – B+
Overall – B+