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Film: Beating the Heat

By Henry P. Raleigh
ART TIMES online October 2012

Drawing by Henry P. Raleigh

Well sir, no one’s going to forget those record breaking heat waves of last summer, right? AC and fans not withstanding I stumbled on a little trick you might find useful the next time around.  It’s pretty simple— you need only get yourself in a cold frame of mind.  And how do you do this, you ask? Norwegian movies; watch Norwegian movies as many as possible.  And why? Because Norwegian movies are all about cold. The stories take place in the cold, the actors are cold, everyone muffled up to their eyeballs in parkas, fur hats and boots, snow and ice everywhere.  There is nothing colder looking than a good frozen fjord, I can tell you.  No filmmaker can do cold like the Norwegians, it’s just second nature to them because they’re always cold. American filmmakers are failures at showing cold. Look at our Santa Claus movies— all fake snow and plastic icicles. Take “Ice Storm” in ’97— did Kevin Kline ever really look cold?  And who would dare film Signourney Weaver entirely encased in bulky, shapeless winter clothing?  And what about “The Thing” in ’82, I ask you, a Styrofoam Antarctica in a studio back lot?  The Norwegians don’t need Styrofoam, they’ve got the real stuff and it never melts.  Watch a couple of Norwegians films and you’ll find yourself shivering all day when it’s 103 degrees F and 99% humidity.  Don’t confuse this with Swedish movies that have never gotten over the influence of Bergman’s “Smiles of a Summer Night”.

Start out with “Zero Kelvin” of ’96—trappers in Iceland going insane.  I’m not sure what a Kelvin is but at zero it sounds damn cold to me. Next in order of types of cold we have “Troll Hunter” in 2000— bleak and depressing cold; “King of Devil’s Island” 2010— bleaker and more depressing; “Dead Snow” 2009— Nazi zombies cold; cold American actor Steven Van Zandt.  An exception that proves the rule, as the saying goes, is “Hawaii, Oslo” 2004, which takes places during the hottest day in a Norwegian summer when the temperature read 70degrees F. You see what I mean about Norway.