The royal blue of the Barents Sea rises in roaring snow-white-capped waves crashing into the northern shores of the small Norwegian fishing village of Berlevåg as the 30-odd members of a male choir march into view. They’re bundled from head to toe in caps, parkas and boots. They sing in rich voices of the wonders and trials of Finnmark, the northernmost county of Norway, their home.
A better title for this film might be The Singing Strand Boys: Norway’s Berlevåg Male Choir. These don’t seem to be men who would describe themselves as “cool.” They’re more the tough survivors of one of the world’s coldest climates, fishermen burned and carved by the wind and the sun (“We Strand boys have to be shot,” one of the older members brags. “They say we do not die on our own.”). If they’re crazy, it’s for the love of women, fishing and singing.
Director Knut Erik Jensen’s subtitled Norwegian documentary is a sketchy story of the boys, their preparation to hit the road to perform a concert in Murmansk, Russia, and the concert itself. Jensen makes his documentary unique by studding the typical, if not requisite, talking heads and slices of life with musical sequences that play like cinematic postcards from the northern edge of Norway or understated choral music videos. Cool & Crazy documents the choir, but in a manner more like a multimedia family album.
Family albums, though, are only as interesting as the people and places in them. In this case, the people and the place are inseparable, rich and weathered by life. Cool & Crazy presents us with the stern beauties of nature and the passionate and motley characters of the choir. If that piques your interest, cool. You may end up crazy for it.
Showing exclusively at the Detroit Film Theatre (inside the DIA, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit), Monday at 7:30 p.m. Call 313-833-3237.
E-mail James Keith La Croix at email@example.com.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.