[Victoria Film Festival 2020] What Lurks Behind the Men’s Room is Music

7 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Feb 7 | 6:30 PM | Capitol 6
Feb 14 | 12:15 PM | The Vic

For Vi er Gutta (original title) or The Men’s Room is a sombre documentary about a men’s choir who don’t have much of a future for themselves. This movie length work by Petter Sommer and Jo Vemund Svendsen follows “The Male Choir,” a band of merry men who should be burdened with uncertainly. They are 40 somethings by my reckoning. Every Tuesday, they get together and sing the blues. It’s laced with references about women, whisky and wine one day, or that desire for rockstar fame in another. Ivar is their conductor. He helps the team fine tune their singing voice and honestly, they’re quite good. The music is therapy for them.

When they learn their lead has cancer, the plot is simple. Just how long does he have? They’ve been asked to open for Black Sabbath–no easy feat–and they better be on top of their game.

Despite the hardships involved in knowing the inevitable, these men are simple folk. They have regular jobs, and other concerns in their life to deal with. However, they are all ultimately brothers, and the pace is perfect to follow the emotional journey they face. If there’s ever one song to summarize what this film is about, I’d say St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) sums it up. The idea is to keep going, no matter what the odds are–be they physical or de-habilitating.

Prepple Houmb, vocalist of DumDum Boys, and Geir Schau, a radio personality started this group, and when Ivar is not around, they are basically the generals to keep everyone together. However, it’s Ivar, the Admiral who shows the most courage. Despite succumbing to his cancer during the course of this film, he keeps the morale high. You almost want to cry when considering Ivar knows his time will soon end. Instead of bemoaning his personal crisis, he stays strong.  This theme is one many can take away. It’s always good to live for another day.

4 Stars out of 5

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