The movie of Katharina Bökenbrink was shot in the north of Norway, at the place of the former prison camps in Beisfjord and Bjørnfjell. It shows a kaleidoscope of natural landscapes, memorials, forgotten remains of the camps, a bunker in Narvik, little details of the monuments. And – what’s important – no text, no commentaries. The movie consists only of music and visual part. Earlier versions of the movie had a voice-over, but for Katharina it just didn’t feel right:
„When you are actually in the old camp, you don’t really have words, you have many thoughts. Being there and knowing that there are still people buried somewhere under the ground, people who have died there, who have never been found. It is difficult to find the right words to explain this.“
The video goes back and forth, so many number, hence people, circling around in dizzying loops and repeating themselves. Combined with noisy music it creates an appropriate means to reflect the tragic events in Bjørnfjell and Beisfjord.
The movie is also made by the influence of a research on the real historic figure named Eline Altermark. It was a Norwegian woman, who lived near prison camps and witnessed everything that happened. She was not participating in anything actively, but helped the nazi officers by giving them water and some other resources. Was she a part of it? Is she a bad person? What would you have done in her place? These are the questions that are not easy to answer. Even for historians as Katharina herself it is sometimes difficult not to be judgmental and remain as neutral as possible.
The work on this topic and on this historic period will surely accompany the author also in the future: now as a topic of her master thesis, what she as well mentioned in the collective film.
More Norwegian movies by Nora Pedersen and Marija Stancic with background informations are coming soon.