A Devil with Harpoon / En Djevel Med harpun
by Mirko Stopar
(Documentary, Norway, 2021, 78’, NB&C, En ST)
This documentary tells the story of Lars Andersen (1891-1967), the legendary Norwegian whale hunter. He was a folk hero, a millionaire and larger than life. Lars “Faen” Andersen sacrificed his popularity when he joined the Nazi Party during the Occupation in Norway. Mirko Stopar examines his career with archive footage and interviews with former colleagues.
“A Devil with Harpoon is the third and last episode of what producer Tore Buvarp (Fenris Film) has called a “black documentary trilogy “. Buvarp and the director himself have called Stopar’s documentaries “hybrid films”. They are hybrid because they combine documentary elements and fiction. (… There is nothing new about documentaries using excerpts from fiction films. The fact that documentaries use illustrations, constructions, dramatization, and reenactments is not new either. Do they all become “hybrid films” because they use those tricks of the trade, or must those tricks be used in a particular way to be legitimized? (…) What happens when a video clip is taken out of context and used in a completely different one? Or, what happens when images from a period film are used during a completely different epoch? What are the limits to using different archive footage? Stopar’s films are not conceived to ask such questions. Is that perhaps why they give rise to such questions? » rushprint.no
“The story of the legendary Norwegian whaler Lars “the Devil” Andersen, the man that killed 7000 whales. In the 1920s and 1930s, he broke catching records and had the status of a folk hero. But his popularity fell as he collaborated with the Germans during WWII. He had to go into exile, and his name got erased from the history books. In Argentina, he was the adviser for President Perón and ended in charge of Aristotle Onassis’ controversial pirate whaling project. Through his life and career, we’re able to see the lights and shadows of a mythological industry told by their protagonists.” Norwegian Film Institut