Comrade, a war film where enemies become friends
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
Norwegian director Petter Næss’ Comrade is set during World War II – ”still it’s not a real war movie,” he insisted. ”It is the story of two groups of enemies who are forced to fight together in order to survive in the wilderness, while at the same time trying to keep up the enmity. However, they accept the absurdity of the situation, and in real life they became friends and even met after the war.”
Having just wrapped principal photography at Swedish regional film centre, Film i Väst in Trollhättan, Comrade is based on a true event on April 27, 1940, when German Luftwaffe pilot Horst Schopis’ bomber was shot down over Grotli by an RAF fighter.
The English combat aircraft had to crashland in the fjells, and by chance three German and two English crew members found shelter from the strong Norwegian winter in the same isolated cottage, eventually realising that antagonism was hard to maintain.
The German-UK-Norwegian cast is headed by Florian Lukas (Goodbye Lenin! [+see also:
interview: Wolfgang Becker
film profile]) and David Kross (The Reader [+see also:
film profile]), Rupert Grint (Harry Potter [+see also:
film profile]), and Lachlan Nieboer, and Stig Henrik Hoff. Lukas plays Schopis, the German pilot, who at 98 is today’s only survivor.
Schopis met Næss and his group of actors in Oslo, before they went to locations near Grotli to shoot Ole Meldgaard, Dave Mango and Næss’ screenplay. Most interiors were filmed at Swedish regional film centre, Film i Väst in Trollhättan.
With a €2 million (NOK 15 million) budget, supported by Eurimages, Comrade is the first feature from Zentropa Norway, staged with Sweden’s Trolhättan Film and produced by Valerie Edwina Saunders. Co-producers include Madeleine Ekman and Peter Aalbæk Jensen.
Næss, who has most recently filmed Shameless, was Oscar-nominated for Elling [+see also:
film profile] (2001); his credits include Gone with the Woman [+see also:
film profile] (2007). Comrade will be released next year by Scanbox Norge. TrustNordisk handles international sales.
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