Traditionally, we see a movie in Lund or Malmö or Ystad with a friend between Christmas and New Year's. We've seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy together, and the first two Hobbit films. So with the release of the last Hobbit film, we should have been seeing that. But the reviews were so clear that this was a CWOT (complete waste of time), that we chose a film based on when we could all be in Lund. The children's films, dubbed in Swedish, were out. The local independent theater, Kino, was showing the film PRIDE, so we went there. And I'm very glad we did.

It's 1984 and the coal miners are on strike in the UK. A group of lesbian and gay activists decide to support the coal miners against the common enemies of the thugs, the police and Maggy Thatcher. They choose a place in South Wales, Onllwyn, and start collecting money. There are many problems to be dealt with on both sides, but eventually because of some very resolute people, they become friends. I can't tell more, or I will spoil the story, but fascinatingly enough, this is based on a true story.

The story is about solidarity - one group helping another, and them returning the favor. It is movingly told, and as one reviewer has said, it is not just a good indie LGBT film: It is a good film full stop. I was moved to tears as the wife of a miner began singing "Bread and Roses" (one of my favorite union songs) and is soon joined not only by the rest of the women in the room, but also by some of the men. There are many small, intertwined stories told in the movie, and there are many moments when you just have to laugh. It is fascinating to see how characters such as Siân James develops, who in real life went on to be the member of Parliament for Swansea East.

Interestingly, the film is free for children from the age of 7 in Sweden, but is rated R (under 17 only accompanied by an adult) in the US. Are they afraid of the representation of homosexuals as normal people, or of the political activism? There are no sex scenes, just a dildo, a gay magazine, and some topless guys. And a cuss word or three, I suppose.

As we spoke about after the movie - the solidarity that was in the air from the late 60s to the early 80s has somehow disappeared. When we went to university, there were many activist groups and much solidarity between the various groups. Now, it's more or less the me-generation looking after its own best interests, and the right-wingers doing some rabble-rousing, violence, and arson. How can the solidarity be regained? We have no answers, but an imperative: Go see this film. It is worth it.


Det som ingen ved

Sick of the TV-tinsel-Christmas and with WiseKid and WiseGrandkid not coming until tomorrow, we opted for a film before the midnight service on Christmas Eve. We settled on the Danish filmmaker Det som ingen ved (German: Was niemand weiß, English: What no one knows). The subtitle is "Vem kan du egentligen lita på?" (Whom can you trust?) It doesn't appear to have been shown in the States, probably put on a blacklist by the NSA.

I remember seeing it about 5 years ago (make that 2008) at the Nordic Film Festival, but I didn't remember the plot. Scenes began reappearing in my mind, and I remember some of the things I thought while watching the movie. "There's no one watching all those surveillance videos, they are just there to scare off thieves." "There can't be such a secret organization that knows how to kill people and is willing and able to do so just to keep their group secret." "The Danish government would never work hand in hand with the CIA like that."

Post-Snowden: It's worse than this. This film is sugar-coated, rose-colored glasses, just hinting at what we now know to be true. Truly amazing that the Danish Department of Defense (Forsvarskommandoen) let them film on location.

Yes, there are loose ends here and there: Thomas keeps coming up with cars that shouldn't be there, maps to hidden cabins appear by magic, Stockholm is just a short drive from Malmö. But still, the film should be revived, if only to make you ask some questions: What are all these cameras for? Why are they watching us? What is it, that they don't want us to know?