The European migrant crisis has been a highly divisive issue, leading to an outpouring of media attention that happily pits peoples’ belief systems against one another. This hostile discourse has led to a need for stories that can bridge these differences and find common ground.
Welcome to Norway! achieves just that. It’s an uplifting comedy that benefits from its liberal undertones, proving both insightful and entertaining without feeling staged or patronising. The story centres on Primus (Anders Christiansen) a forty-something scruffy type in rural Norway, fixated on taking in a group of refugees in order to get compensation from the government and thus save his family’s rundown hotel.
The story does well to challenge Primus, putting him in ever more awkward situations, exploiting his lack of tact and shambolic personality for comedic ends. Yet when Primus starts listening to his potential lodgers, especially Abedi, played with great candour by Olivier Mukata, he begins to understand the intricacies of housing such a diverse group of people. The strength of the film lies in not using comedy to sugar-coat these intricacies, but instead to approach them with honesty.
Welcome to Norway! | Rune Denstad Langlo (Norway 2016) starring Anders Christiansen. Starts October 13.