Norwegian Dream is a dark, atmospheric drama that takes a deep dive into how our social and economic living conditions affect our ability to live our truest lives. Robert (the chiseled, super handsome Hubert Milkowski) is a 19-year-old Polish migrant-worker, living in a remote coastal area of Norway and working in a salmon processing factory. He’s left homophobic Poland behind to live a better life and also provide for his mother, who’s struggling financially and emotionally following the death of his father.
Life is OK, although he’s still in the closet, sharing cramped noisy worker’s accommodation, his employer bends the rules of his contract, his co-workers are boisterous and macho, and the work is repetitive with little to do outside working hours.
Then he meets co-worker Ivar, (Karl Bekele Steinland). Karl is flamboyant, a dancer, an aspiring actor, and out and proud. Robert’s own ambition is to own a petrol station so the two guys are quite different. They both, however, get along and hang out together, although closeted Robert is uncomfortable with Ivar’s in-your-face gayness. Ivar is the adopted son of the factory’s owners and lives a comfortable middle-class life on a boat, with creative friends and relatives. The opposite of Robert’s home life. Robert continues to try and keep his sexuality a secret, especially from his sexy roommate Marek (Jakub Sierenberg), but this annoys Ivar. Nevertheless, Robert and Ivar begin a sweet romantic relationship, albeit in secret.
Things reach a head when Ivar joins a newly formed worker’s union to campaign for better worker rights, wages, and conditions at the company. The resulting workers’ strike antagonizes both his father and Robert. Robert can’t afford to go on strike as his mother Maria (Edyta Torhan) has just arrived in Norway, penniless, jobless, and homeless, and he needs to support her. Robert therefore has to cross the picket line containing Ivar every day. Will their relationship survive such a test?
Directed by Leiv Igor Devold and written by Justyna Bilik, Norwegian Dream is a joint Norwegian/Polish-produced drama. This multi-layered, tough yet tender, coming-of-age story covers themes such as migrant working, insecure housing and employment, wealth inequality, racism, familial drama, self-absorption, coming-out and young love. The various moody sub-plots align seamlessly and combine together with excellent bleak Norwegian landscape cinematography, a heartfelt soundtrack and strong performances by all the cast to create a memorable film.
Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah