Bestevenner (international title Rafiki) was the first feature film by director Christian Lo, who prior to his debut feature had directed four internationally acclaimed short films for children. Bestevenner was also my first full length score. I’ll modestly admit that the film is quite brilliant too, having recieved lots of international film festival awards. It’s the children’s film that makes grown men weep (among them VG’s film reviewer Jon Selås).
Actually the film is about something really important. It’s a children’s film which dares to touch upon some highly relevant themes not commonly discussed in films for children; Asylum politics. And I’ll have to get personal on this one: In my very own opinion the government’s deportation of children who have grown up and lived in Norway for many years is inhuman, absurd and unacceptable. Norway is consistently ignoring the UN’s children’s convention on this one, which makes me sad and angry. The brilliant thing about this film is that it takes on this complex problem, presenting it from a child’s point of view. We really don’t need to know all the political details. The simple heart of the matter, to the children, is that friends are being taken from them, removed from their classmates and sent to another country (which they often have no memory of, and no reason to call “home”). That is really all that matters. As soon as we take the children’s point of view, as this film does, we see the whole meaninglessness of this failed kind of by-the-book strictness, that the Norwegian government (and many other governments, I’m sure) seems to believe they have to practice.
In the end though, it is just as much a film about friendship and bravery, and the fact that it’s not filled with politics is part of its brilliance. It’s a beautiful film and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Christian and I would rejoin our forces three years later, and knock it up a notch, on his second feature: De Tøffeste Gutta (The Tough Guys).
A soundtrack album of RAFIKI was released on Pling Kong Recordings in 2012. Click here to listen to the album on your favourite digital music service, or use the embedded Spotify player below.
Music by Eirik Myhr (except “Santa Lucia”: trad. arr Eirik Myhr)
Recorded summer 2009
VIOLIN: Terje Skomedal, Gaute Skrove
VIOLA: Hilde Nora Ringstad
CELLO: Tonje Bekken
FLUTE: Ingrid Holmen
OBOE: Kjersti Strøm
BASSOON: Embrik Snerte
TRUMPET: Jørgen Arnesen
HORN: Lene Aadalen Skomedal
TROMBONE: Ingebjørg Klovholt
ACOUSTIC GUITAR: Arild Hammerø
LAPSTEEL: Atle Skogrand
ELECTRIC AND ACOUSTIC BASS: Sindre Klykken Johnsen
FIDDLE: Olav Luksengård Mjelva
VOICES: Nøklevann Ensemble
SOLO VOICE: Marie Skånland
PROGRAMMING, PIANO, ADDITIONAL INSTRUMENTS: Eirik Myhr
Photos by Bjørn Ståle Bratberg / Filmbin
Poster design by Kjerand Nesvik
Director: Christian Lo
Producer: Trine Aadalen Lo