King Curling, a popular and utterly zany Norwegian comedy

For his first full-length feature film, King Curling, Norwegian director Ole Endresen tackled the unusual Olympic sport of curling, which has been popular in Norway since 2012, when the national team won the Olympic gold medal.

Truls Paulsen (whose name is a spoonerism of the name of the real-life Norwegian curling champion Pål Trulsen, played by Atle Antonsen) is a curling champion. His sense of accuracy and detail made him an almost unbeatable winner. But his personality traits brought this to an end: affected by an obsessive compulsive disorder, Truls was banned from competitions and from having contact with his old teammates, and was sectioned after having “lost it” on the ice. Having spent many years in a psychiatric hospital, Truls will attempt to return to the sport in order to enable his old coach, Gordon (Ingar Helge Gimle), who is very ill, to have an expensive operation... But he hasn't counted on his wife and carer Sigrid (Linn Skåber), who is herself also obsessed – with the colour pink and with her naughty little dog – or on his long-haired long-time adversary, Stefan Ravndal (Kåre Conradi).

King Curling is a curious mix between a group of characters that are as crazy and colourful as the film sets, and the high-precision sport of curling. “It is really funny to see how the participants play and concentrate so seriously – as if it were rugby or something really difficult, when actually it’s only about sliding a stone across the ice,” the filmmaker says as he discusses his film, the Nordic heir of American sporting comedies like Cool Runnings and Blades of Glory.

This unusual movie, which proved tremendously popular in Scandinavia, has already caused a sensation beyond its borders: “King Curling is almost as if Wes Anderson had directed Dodgeball as an homage to the Coen brothers, all overseen by Aki Kaurismäki. A hilarious comedy with widespread appeal that has a ball hijacking all of the usual clichés of sporting films, and also incorporates an interesting reflection on madness,” writes La Presse (Canada).

Since 23 November, it has been the turn of Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey to enjoy this Norwegian moment of folly. King Curling is one of the five films in Walk This Way’s Scandinavian Collection.

26 November 2015, by Cineuropa