Marching Forever

Film review

scene from Marching Forever

Photo courtesy of Films of Norway
Marching bands have long been an important part of Norway’s Constitution Day celebrations.

Films of Norway

In Norway there are many people who at some point in their life have played in a marching band.

Norway’s national day (the 17th of May) is, to put it “mildly,” a full day of celebration. All schools and workplaces are closed. Everyone puts on their nicest clothes, and if you have a bunad, this is definitely the right time to wear it to show that you are a “real Norwegian.”

Another big happening on this day is that, from early in the morning until afternoon, you will hear all kinds of bands playing and marching in the streets. This takes place everywhere, not only in the streets of the cities or on designated parade routes, but also outside the city centers, so people will be able to listen to and see the bands passing their houses.

The quality of the music that these bands deliver varies greatly. Some consist of rather young children and some consist more or less of professionals. Whatever it sounds like, all of these “musicians” experience great feedback from their audiences, because this is not about a music competition, this is about celebrating the feeling of freedom.

Is there anything that can be worth celebrating more than freedom? The alternative is such a sad story that we do not even want to think about it, so therefore, we make the yearly celebration day of freedom into a huge party—all day long. I cannot imagine what the 17th of May would be without all these marching bands.

Kampen Janitsjar is a marching band based in Oslo. It was founded in 1929, and it has been a huge part of the town history and culture. They have been playing on the 17th of May, in church concerts, at Christmas events, and more.

Marching Forever is the story about a marching band called Kampen. For those of you who might think the subject seems boring, I can assure you that it is not. The story takes us into a universe not only on the inside of a marching band, but it also reveals some interesting human aspects: conflicts, compassion, love, and hate are what makes this movie so loveable. Add the perfect little dash of humor, and it fits in the category of “feel good.”

If you like the kind of music that marching bands play, you will of course enjoy the music in the movie, too. The things you will remember after watching it are on a higher human emotional level though, like true friendship, power struggles, rejections, and commitment.

I briefly met the creator of the film and asked her, “What was it like to make this movie?” Her immediate answer was: “Very emotional.”

Kampen Janitsjar is a band of 70 members (all men!), and they have stated “no women allowed” in their articles of association. The movie creator, Janne Lindgren, spent three years in close proximity to these men, and she was the only woman in this environment during this time.

Lindgren was originally a photographer, but in this case she did almost everything for the production by herself—impressive to accomplish such a great result as a “one-man band” …. oh, sorry, “one-woman band” on a budget smaller than a decent TV commercial for chewing gum.

The Kampen Janitsjar band needs more members, as many of the existing members are getting old, and who, for various reasons, are not able to play any longer. They need rookies, but these days, boys seem to be more interested in soccer and computer games, so recruiting new members is not easy. One of the band members has an idea on how to solve the recruiting challenge: “Let’s recruit women!”

Happy streaming!


Marching Forever

Director: Janne Lindgren

Script: Janne Lindgren

Photography: Janne Lindgren

Producer: Meri Monrad

Year: 2019

Run time: 59 minutes 

Cast: Morten Lier and other members from Kampen Janitsjar marching band

This article originally appeared in the May 7, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.