Mar 28

Hotel St. Pauli

hotelstpauliGenre: Drama
Year: 1988
Country: Norway

Director: Svend Wam
Starring: John Ege, Amanda Ooms, Øyvin Bang Berven, Sossen Krohg, Jöns Andersson


Jor and Gerda is a loving couple that lives together in Copenhagen. Jor is trying to make a breakthrough as a writer, without any luck so far. His struggles have caused Gerda to provide for them by selling sexual favors on the street.

Jor is filled with resentment towards Gerda and because of what she has to do to provide food for the two. One day though, their lives change completely when the small city boy Morgan comes walking into their lives.

Hotel St. Pauli is considered by many to be one of the biggest cinema turkeys ever produced in Norway. The film is done by Svend Wam and Petter Vennerød, partners in crime that are responsible for several films that have a main purpose of delivering social commentaries.

It’s easy to see why people hated this film. It is controversial in that it features non-simulated sexual acts (oral sex), something the finer folks of this country always hate and the acting is so over the top that you can’t help but guess that it is done on purpose, that is if you haven’t been exposed to any other Wam and Vennerød movies before.

Their films do capture the time period of when they are filmed very well, which also makes nearly all of them feel very dated. Dated is also the commentary themselves, since society has changed a lot in Norway over the last 25 years. I was only seven years old when this film came out and can honestly say that I have no idea what it is really about. It’s one of the hardest films of the duo to decode that I have watched so far. Also, since the film is not very entertaining for me I don’t feel like twisting my brain to figure it out either.

Another common thing in Wam and Vennerød films is that there is always a big party where something controversial happens, guess it shows how alcohol or other recreational drugs can bring out our true self that we hide from each other in the daily lives. That would fit well in with the norwegian culture, or perhaps I’m just reaching here. Anyways, the festivities here are with the trio of Gerda, Jor and Morgan having a nice little party after Gerda found and invited Morgan back to her apartment because he wants to get laid with a prostitute. The mentioned oral sex scene takes place here, right before or after Morgan takes a piss on Gerda, shortly followed by him nailing her on the floor before he gets very upset that Jor interacts by whipping his butt with his belt. Yeah, fun stuff.

There is still some decent stuff to find in this film though, the opening sex scene is done well and realistic with no music, just natural moans and sounds. There is also something very fascinating about seeing this train wreck of a film, which do add a certain so-bad-its-good flavor to it. However, it’s not something I would recommend to anyone else, and I can’t see any non-norwegians finding anything to like about it.




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