Film Depictions of The Nazi Occupation of Norway. 1940-1945 (Initial…
Film Depictions of The Nazi Occupation of Norway. 1940-1945
The Heroes of Telemark
Director Anthony Mann. An American
Based on the true memoir
Skis against the Atom
Nazi's are refining deutirium at Venmosk Hydro plant in Telemark. Rolf Pedersen, a physics professor, is recruited to the resistance by the local leader Knut Straud (based off the real life Knut Haukiled). The two are smuggled to Britain and receive secret plans of the plant. The two take a small band and sabotage the plant, but the Germans are able to repair the damaged equipment. Pedersen and Straud then sink the ferry carrying the drums of heavy water to foil the program.
The film has a staunch heroic vibe. Music swells as we follow Rolf and Knut through daring raids in the heart of Nazi territory. This sort of classic hero story is common for war films of this time period. While the director and crew were not all Norwegian as in Vi Vil Leve, it was filmed on location and received very well.
Masculinity and Femininity
Comparing this and Vi Vil Leve, There is almost no critical eye on concepts of masculinity or a consideration of female perspective. The only female characters in this film are the wive's of primary characters, or minor background supporting roles.
The Royal family scatters. King Hakon escapes to Britian
Fascist Quisling declares himself Prime Minister day one of the invasion. Receives support of the Nazi occupiers
Organized soliders remained loyal to the king. Later numbering 40,000.
The German Heavy Water Sabotoge. Crippled Germany's progress on nuclear weapon research
Eventually power shifted back and the occupation ended in 1945
Remnants of the Navy used their ships to bolster the British Navy
Norwegian airforce trained in a small camp in Ontario Canada
Massive food shortages. Norway lost access to all trade partners but Germany and national production dropped by almost half
Workers forced into prison camps
Prison Camp Grini
Approximately 2200 Jews at the start of the occupation
Palestine Calls. Jews are not tolerated in Norway
Jewish Parasites stole Norway. 9th April
775 arrested. 742 sent to Concentration camps. 23 murders
Many Jews smuggled out of the country to Sweden.
Vi Vil Leve
We Will Live
The story of three Norwegians, Knut, Harald, and Elsa resisting the occupation through smuggling before Knut and Harald are caught due to a local villager informing the Gestapo. Knut sells out his friends and dooms the entire village of Utøy to be arrested and detained at Grini. As the execution date for Harald and Knut comes closer, Elsa is released on good behavior and smuggles in handmade SS uniforms, ultimately allowing the cast to escape and flee to Sweden
There are two major betrayals. One resulting in an entire town paying the price. The trauma is evident in this time period, the film attempting to cope with the fact that many sided with the Nazis for selfish ends.
Masculinity and Femininity
The major betrayal of the film is carried out by Knut, a character who is very traditionally masculine and the initial driving force of the trio to fight back against the nazi's. His hubris leads to them getting caught and his heroism melts under the Gestapo interrogation. Meanwhile Elsa is the savior of the story, her passivity allows her to be released as the Nazi's view her as a nonthreat, and from the outside she is able to orchestrate the grand escape through sewing, a traditionally feminine skill.
This deliberate positive framing of traditional femininity could possibly be seen as a cultural need or want for a society with more traits that are typically coded as feminine, more nurturing and healing in the wake of the damages of war
Main Director, Olav Dalgard
Vi Vil Leve was written in the Grini camp by directors Dalgard and Randall. The script was smuggled out of the country where it would sit for 2 years before being funded post-occupation.
Over the Border
Bente Erichsen, Director writer and producer
The film drew controversy upon release for depicting a real life unsolved case. Two resistance fighters killed a Jewish couple they were tasked with transporting across the border in 1942. The rescuers claimed they had no choice, and post-occupation were acquitted of any crimes, but many documents regarding the case are not public knowledge which causes there to be much speculation on the truth of the matter amongst Norwegians
Jewsih couple Jacob and Rakel Feldmann are trying to flee to Sweden, they enlist local resistance organization, Milorg, who assign them two guides. The film is nonlinear and jumps back and forth from depictions of the events to pre events such as showing the couple's time living in a basement, to showing the two guides on trial. Ultimately the couple is beaten to death by their guides a few miles away from the borders and their pockets are picked, we return to the trial scene as the guides are acquitted.
Betrayal and Moral Obligation
This film concerns betrayal once again, but is extended past the simple trauma of having your fellow countrymen go against you, but the betrayal of the helpless. Jew's were entirely at the mercy of the Norwegian's during the occupation and many who could have been helped were abandoned. The film Shows bluntly how bad things were, and how we are obligated not just to help those like us but also those less fortunate
Here the heroic savior Milorg are used as the antagonists, turning tropes entirely on their head to bring up questions of how we glorify people and organizations who are always more complex than simply being the good guys or bad guys.
Masculinity and Femininity
This film comes from an innately female perspective due to the script and direction coming from Erichsen. An interesting turn on the common practice of film to have unimportant and unnamed women, Rakel's history is given a lot of screentime including memories of her grandchildren. Meanwhile the two guides, who are clearly important characters, are never mentioned by name, not even during the trial, and many scenes do not show their face as if to reinforce that the viewer is not intended to focus on their story.