Even off the frozen Scandinavian coasts, a warm and tender romance can grow in the coming-of-age drama Norwegian Dream.
In his feature debut, Leiv Igor Devold takes audiences to Norway, just outside the city of Trondheim, where a 19-year-old Polish immigrant named Robert (Hubert Milkowski, of Netflix‘s Operation Hyacinth) is struggling to make ends meet.
With his mother in crippling debt, Robert is forced to take up work at a nearby fish-processing factory, which he soon realizes is a rather grueling (and smelly) job. There, he falls in with a group of Poles, who he warily tries to maintain friendship with mostly out of self-preservation.
But it’s during his training that he meets Ivar (Karl Bekele Steinland, in his screen debut), the adopted Black son of a wealthy businessman who owns the factory. For Ivar, working for the family business is merely a stop-gap while he dreams of a much bigger world—teaching himself how to vogue and trying out drag in his free time.
Almost instantly, Robert feels a spark with Ivar, but he also recognizes his secret crush is a subject of ridicule among his Polish colleagues, and the closer the two get, the more that threatens the only group where he feels like he might belong.
Still, the two are almost magnetically drawn to one another, and Ivar begins inviting Robert along to his drag shows—both so he can help him with a little extra cash, and to spend more time together.
As their love story unfolds, Norwegian Dream becomes a fascinating exploration of how we overcome the lines that so often divide us: Race, class, culture, identity.
And though Devold’s film takes place in the frigid air of northern Norway, there’s a universality to Robert and Ivar’s struggles that anyone can relate. Plus, their passionate and physical connection sure does manage to heat things up.
Norwegian Dream made its U.S. premiere this past summer at the Frameline festival in San Francisco, before touring the fets circuit around the country, from Reel Affirmations in D.C. to Reeling in Chicago.
Now, the film is getting a proper stateside release courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment and Dark Star Pictures, heading to select theaters and digital VOD platforms on January 2.
Queerty is honored to exclusively premiere the brand-new trailer for the U.S. release, which you can watch below: