A-ha the movie

A-ha the movie
Running time:109 minutes
Director:Thomas Robsahm
Release date:Not communicated
A-ha's hit Take On Me is still one of the most played songs of the last millennium. The documentary follows the band over a period of four years, telling the full story of how three young men from Norway followed their impossible dream of becoming international pop stars.

Mulder's Review

Founded in 1982, the Norwegian band A-ha composed of Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (guitars), Magne Furuholmen (keyboards and guitars), and Morten Harket (vocals) made a lasting impression on the 80s with a string of hits. The first album Hunting High and Low released in 1985 included their biggest hit Take on me (1.2 billion views on Youtube). To date the band has released ten studio albums: Hunting High and Low (1985), Scoundrel Days (1986), Stay on These Roads (1988), East of the Sun, West of the Moon (1990), Memorial Beach (1993), Minor Earth Major Sky (2000), Lifelines (2002), Analogue (2005), Foot of the Mountain (2009), Cast in Steel (2015) and sold over 55 million albums. 

It was therefore inevitable that one day a documentary would come out and look back on the career of this band from their difficult beginning to their peak and decline linked to personal problems between the three members of the band. This excellent document allows us to better understand how fame destroyed their friendship and led the band to split up many times. Through different interviews with Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, Magne Furuholmen and Morten Harket, we understand better the history of the band, its strength and the numerous internal conflicts that prevented it from producing a new record while the whole world continues to adore them and listen to their first albums with an intact pleasure.

The story of the Norwegian band A-ha is almost like a fairy tale, as it was unlikely that a Norwegian band could be so successful. However, these three Norwegians, passionate about music and fans of Queen and Velvet Underground, went to London to try their luck and succeeded in making a name for themselves with the hit Take On Me and a first album that left a lasting impression on the music world. The voice of Morten Harket, a synth-pop music and the video clip of Take on me directed by Steve Barron (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)) could federate a worldwide audience. The success of A-ha, which has become a worldwide phenomenon, has changed their lives forever, but it has also created tensions within the group. While Morten Harket found himself on the front page of many magazines, the other members of the group remained in the shadows and gradually decided to create their own musical universe. 

The numerous interviews and the unpublished sequences proposed in this documentary allow to see under a new angle the history of this group and especially to learn many crunchy anecdotes in particular their participation on the music of the film James Bond The Living Daylights and their difficult collaboration with John Barry. The director Thomas Robsahm was able to follow this group during a tour and thus to capture many scenes behind the scenes but also the reactions of the members of the group. The result is a fascinating documentary that is simply devoured and takes us back to the 80s.

Certainly the group A-ha lost with the years of their prestige and their music seems dated and representative of a bygone era. However we can only greet this group which never tried to repeat preconceived formulas but to continue to make the music which they like always as intuitive and original. Certainly A-ha the movie by Thomas Robsahm was one of the highlights of the Tribeca festival and we can only encourage you to discover this movie and to listen again to the albums of this mythical band.

A-ha the movie
Written and directed by Thomas Robsahm
Produced by Yngve Sæther, Thomas Robsahm  
Starring Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen, Pål Waaktaar-Savoy
Music by A-Ha
Cinematography : Aslaug Holm
Edited by Hilde Bjørnstad
Release date : June 12, 2021 (Tribeca)
Running time : 109 minutes

Seen on June 11, 2021 (Tribeca press access)

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