Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
One of my very favorite films, Tjenare Kungen (that's God Save the King in Swedish) now has several clips up on YouTube. I happened to write a kind of capsule summary of it last year for a zine that never ran (though it still might), so see what you think. If you don't know Swedish, don't worry, it's pretty easy to figure out what's going on in the clips regardless. I continue to nurse a massive crush on Abra that shows no signs of shrinking. It may look slick, but this is no Josie and the Pussycats--Malmros gets it right, and if it's not exactly Show Me Love with guitars, either, it's still got plenty of girl punk grit and authenticity.
Tjenare Kungen (English title: ‘God Save the King,’ Ulf Malmros, 2005)
Place: Gothenburg, Sweden
Heroines: Abra and Millan
It’s 1984. Punk is over—hell, postpunk is pretty much over—but teenage Abra keeps the ’77 spirit alive in the face of new wave poseurs, dino-rock misogynists and disapproving family members. When she meets the like-minded Millan after a show the two become best friends, roommates and bandmates, working together at a sausage factory by day and searching for a drummer and bassist by night.
Abra and Millan’s band, which they call Tjenare Kungen, is ferociously punk and thrilling to watch. Roxy Music, the Vapors, the Pretenders, Blondie and Swede faves Ebba Gron round out the soundtrack.
Queer quotient: 3/10
An early scene in which strangers beat up a mohawked, not-skinny, boyish Abra reads like a queer bashing as much as a punk bashing. Millan humors a dopey boyfriend and Abra eventually sleeps with a pretty-boy student, but the real love story belongs to the two women and the thrill they find making music together.
Overall Rating: 10/10
P.S. This film also contains a still that visually summarizes my entire adolescence.