May 14,1982 / Montrose Voice 11
Norwegians' 'Making Love': 'Life and Death' and 'The Execution'
By John W. Rowberry
International Gay News Agency
If you think Hollywood making two films
in the same year dealing with homosexuality in contemporary men and women
(Making Love and Personal Best) is some
sort of record, imagine a country like Norway, with a small film industry, and lacking the more liberal social attitudes ofthe
rest of Scandanavia, also making two
films about gay people in the same year.
Life and Death, directed by Sven Warn
and Petter Vennerod, is based on their
original screenplay about a doctor who
falls in love with a medical student. The
doctor is happily, we assume, married; like
Making Love, this film also deals with
themes of coming out and repressed
Instead of leaving his wife for his newfound lifestyle, the doctor comes out to his
wife and tries to maintain both relationships. She is, at first, appalled at the whole
idea, but as she comes to know John (the
student) and re-examines her relationship
with her husband, Jacob, she decides that
the feelings the two men have for each
other are genuine and valid.
Being an accepting wife is not nearly
enough. As their triad grows more honest
and sincere, problems arise. It is an
interesting perspective, in how "Life and
Death" views the internal as well as the
external pressures that build up in a social
environment like this one. The burning
question becomes, will they destroy themselves before society does it for them?
Life and Death treats homosexuality
seriously, and works on issues of trust and
jealousy—which have applications across
the board. But at the same time, there is a
sense of remorse that is nearly
unrelenting—and the viewer is set up for a
payoff that disappoints more than it
Life and Death can almost be seen as an
anti-gay film, in that the gay characters
never have a shot at the happy ending
from the outset. Being apthetic and misunderstood just is not enough.
Ironically, being misunderstood is the
basis of the other "gay" film from Norway, The Execution—but where Life and
Death was accepting and supportive ofthe
characters' sexuality even while the fires
were being lit—The Execution is a modern
day "Children's Hour" married to "Joan
This contemporary story is about smalltown corruption and the abuse of power by
corrupted small-town officials. After a
dramatic rescue scene, where a teacher
saves one of his students from certain
death, the teacher is asccused of having
raped the young boy.
The accusation may be true. It may not.
The scandal, which turns into acts of
sheer terrorism by local thugs against the
teacher and anyone who takes his side, is
a decoy to avert attention from graft,
greed and petty larceny on the part of the
In fact, somewhere mid-way, The Execution turns into a Norwegian "Boys of
Boise." Director Leidulv seems to be vying
with Costa-Garvas to cinematically illustrate how any power corrupts absolutely.
But, because of the sexual ambiguity of
the teacher, we can never really be convinced he is not a villain. And an allegation of rape against a small boy, in any
country, is pretty hard to dismiss.
The film wants to deceive—here the
intention is to keep the viewer from making any final value judgement on the central character. While we are privy to the
actions of the police, we are not let in on
the truth soon enough.
The Execution is a dark, depressing
film. The possible homosexuality of the
teacher is played like a strip tease to create
an environment, coupled with the corrupt
local officals, that resembles a moral
The teacher could as easily been created
as a whore, or a bored housewife out look
ing for some quick afternoon thrills—
although I must admit, if I were either of
the above, I would still find the film offensive, and one that only works at the
expense of a defensive target.
If Life and Death are box office successes, does it mean the tiny Norwegian
will find budgets for more "gay" films?
Let's hope not.
A group formed to counter the influence of
the religious right has won its first battle
for equal time with a popular religious TV
program, reports the Los Angeles Times.
"People for the American Way" complained to a Los Angles TV station about
views expressed on The 700 Club, charging the program "Mocked the doctrine of
separation of church and state" and promoted Christianity as "The official religion of the United States."
After reviewing the complaint, the station agreed to give the group five half-hour
public affairs programs to present its side
of the story. People for the American Way
says it will also ask for equal time from
stations airing other religious programs
including the Rev. Jerry Falwell's Old
Time Gospel Hour.
reports lost in
the paper shuffle
Congressional investigators say the
government is doing a terrible job of protecting you from dangerous drugs, reports
the Washington Post.
The General Accounting Office says
more than 40% of reports of adverse drug
reactions are lost by the Food and Drug
Administration, and those that aren't lost
take five months to show up in FDA
It's those reports of dangerous drug side-
effects, sent to the FDA by doctors, that
triggered investigations into whether a
drug should be controlled or taken off the
In response to the GAO report, the FDA
says it will change the way the doctor's
warnings are routed and possibly create a
toll-free number to receive adverse drug
On hump or two?
The Australian camel, imported there as a
beast of burden during the struggle to
open up the country's arid interior in the
early 19th century, may soon be playing a
new role ... dinner, reports the London
A group of Libyan businessmen has
asked a camel farm near Alice Springs,
Australia, to supply 700 ofthe animals to
be served as culinary delicacies.
The Australians aren't too sure why the
Libyans prefer their camels to the African
kind, but at prices up to a $1000 a head,
they aren't asking questions.
SPECIAL FRIDAY RUSH HOUR
5-6 PM 504 BAR DRINKS
HAPPY HOUR DAILY 2-8
(DAY, MAY 22, 1982/8:00 P.M.
TICKETS $6.00 & $7.50
AT THE TOWER THEATRE AND TICKET/WASTER
DY MILLS, CONDUCTOR