Kald mig bare Aksel 2002
1h 22min | Drama, Family | 27 September 2002 (Denmark)
Life is not easy when you are a Danish kid called Aksel who loves meatballs. Especially when you would much rather want to be one of the cool Muslim boys who wear those golden necklaces and say cool stuff in Arabic. To worsen things, during the holidays Aksel gets teamed up with two girls, Fatima and Annika, to perform a song to the local youth club’s song contest, Melodi Grand Prix. The girls want to do a girly pop song, and the entire jury panel consist of Muslim boys! Meanwhile the kids find a stray dog who needs a home. This leads to nothing but trouble, and one of the girls, Fatima, is grounded by her parents for the entire holiday season. Now she can’t perform the song, and Aksel realizes he must take action! He enters an unknown world of rituals and cultural perceptions, and fixes everything in his own unique way.
Released in 2002., a year after WTC tragedy, “Kald mig bare Aksel” has a title that doesn’t make people pay attention. Surprising, as it’s working title “Aksel wants to be a Moslem” could be more up-to-date in the year when Moslem themas were on the headlines. But maybe some people would find it too provoking, and that is something producers don’t want to happen to a family movie.
In fact, this movie couldn’t have come in more adequate moment. Promoting inter-religious tolerance it was bringing understanding and friendship among people instead of hate and disbelief that was raising due to hysteria induced by terrorist attacks. And this is typical for Northern Europe (so different from many other parts of the world – Middle East, Balkan, USA, Kashmir etc): they educate their kids and put peace in their souls instead of making every new generation remember without forgiving.
Apart from this, there is not much to say about “…Aksel”. Coming from a cinematography that has brought us so many excellent movies for and/or about children, this one doesn’t bring anything new. It is a typical movie that all generations can watch (but adults might use that time for ironing or similar work, with one eye on TV just in case a child asks for some additional explanation). Incorporated in a good, simple, realistic plot, a lot of basic informations about Islam have been offered, sometimes on the edge of documentary or educational school program instead of movie. Younger kids might still like it; older kids are not target audience anyway.
Watching this movie simply has to bring in mind brilliant Swedish drama “Före stormen” (made in 2000, before WTC!): both movies show relations between Moslems and native Europeans in most tolerant and democratic countries, with children and teenagers in the focus of the plot. “Före stormen” in a sharp and bitter way says that you never know who is your neighbour, the most quiet of them could be a hidden terrorist. “Kald mig bare Aksel” in a gentle and relaxed way says that Moslems can be as harmless and peaceful as any of your neighbours. And both of them are right.
Director: Pia Bovin
Writer: Bo Hr. Hansen
Stars: Adam Gilbert Jespersen, Sarah Boberg, Jesper Lohmann