Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Aslaug Holm's documentary The Rich Country marks one of the few filmed excursions into Norwegian politics to reach the festival level. With the effort, Holm creates a biographical portrait of Jens Stoltenberg, a Labor Party Prime Minister who won that post in 2000, lost it in 2001, and regained it in 2005. Holm shot the documentary during the '05 election season, with Stoltenberg hot on the festival trail, and concludes it with Stoltenberg's victory. The director's tone is unabashedly reverential; he uses much screen time to pay homage to liberal Stoltenberg's desire to preserve the $190 billion Petroleum Fund (the country's greatest source of wealth), presumably for social causes. Throughout, Holm returns time and again to the theme that Stoltenberg is destined by birth to lead the country. Though one key sequence features an intimate dinner between Stoltenberg and his ex-politician parents (which finds the Prime Minister preparing and serving whale meat), Holm shies away from detailed explorations of Stoltenberg's home life; neither his wife nor his children appear in the film.
election, fishing-village, homage, Prime-Minister, taxes