A comedy film about refugees couldn’t come at a better time in Norway – where Scandinavia is seeing an influx of refugees to the region and this is creating a cultural divide sometimes we just need something funny to come from it. Welcome to Norway! is the answer to a difficult situation, and one of the best comedies Norway has produced.

Petter Primus is a fourth generation mountain resort hotel owner; he’s born and raised far up in the Norwegian mountains and lives there with his wife and daughter. Primus is a bit more racist than most and is hopeless with money. Since the tourists haven’t been coming to the mountains anymore, he decides to go into the business of running a state-funded asylum reception centre. But it’s not going to be as easy as he first expected. Because along with 50 unruly refugees, most of them Muslims and Arabic-speakers, comes Abedi, an endlessly annoying optimist from Congo. He annoys the hell out of Primus, but eventually Abedi changes Primus’ life completely. And in the end, he has to make a choice: his friend or the money.

Rune Denstad Langlo is a talented director, who has brought us North, Chasing the Wind and the extraordinarily beautiful short film Foul. He is one of Norway’s best directors, and someone the region can be proud of. He has heart, intellect, and humour – all of which are used in Welcome to Norway! to powerful effect. The film is also supported by a very strong cast – Anders Baasmo Christensen funny and an excellent lead as always, and Olivier Mukuta a stand-out as well.

Welcome to Norway! is more than a film about refugees – it is an inherently funny comedy that makes fun of Norwegian behaviour in situations that are clearly out of their comfort zone. It is perfectly written, cast shot and it’s easy to see why it was the only sold-out premiere at the Göteborg Film Festival. Overall, I hope to see this film be screened around the world as it is easily Norway’s film of the year.

CategoriesIssue 12 Reviews
Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.