While I was spending my summer holidays in the forest of mosquitoes (Femunden National Park) I read The Epic of Gilgamesh, a wonderful epic – four millenniums old, preserved on clay tablets, in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages (see article in Wikipedia). The story is about the semi-divine king Gilgamesh, who goes on certain adventures with his friend Enkidu: They conquer the dangerous god Humbaba (or Huwawa) in the Forest of Cedar, and they kill the Divine Bull brought upon the land by a sexually frustrated goddess called Ishtar.Humbaba is a powerful god cloaked in seven deadly “auras” (I wonder what the original Sumerian/Akkadian word really meant), but of course our heroes manage to defeat the god. It struck me while reading the story, that the deadly cloaks or auras would have been highly efficient against mosquitoes. Me, my wife, and our dog Umberto, were at times heavily attacked by clouds of bloodthirsty mosquitoes. A divine and deadly cloak would surely have helped us.
Another problem we met, at our walk to my favourite place in Femunden, was a (seemingly) endless fields of rocks (Norwegian: “blokkmark”). A 1.5 kilometers (4–5 thousand feet) distance took us five hours… On our return we chose to walk a few hundred feet more north in exactly the same direction, and guess what: It took two hours calm walking in much more comfortable terrain… Now, it is time to mark the map properly for the next expidition!
The movie was made in 1973, the story unfolds in 2022. Overpopulation has reached a critical level, and food mainly consists of industry-produced-high-energy-things. Detective Robert Thorn survives by doing an excellent job, and by emptying the murder victims’ refrigerators. His assistant, Sol Roth, is an old man who remembers the past, and things like trees, meat, brandy.
Although digital technology would have improved the visual details, the description of society is quite interesting. There are no fathers escaping to save themselves and their children, and no melodramatic scenes. There are only people who have tried to adapt themselves, by stealing, by prostitution, by industrial food projects.
Detective Thorn happens to get involved in a case which leads to a lot of trouble for him. You just have to see the movie for that story. One of the most funny sequences is about the old assistant, Sol Roth, who choose to die by poisoning in happy surroundings: Screens showing how the world once was. Who would blame this voluntary death system in such an overpopulated world? Nobody, until Thorn discovers that the dead bodies have a commercial function…
Happy National Day! People are marching in the streets, singing songs and eating sausages. Ice cream. Drinking Tequila. Barking inside cars. This is the Seventeenth of May! “Hurra!” they are screaming (which in fact means “kill”). We are, on the contrary, sitting inside trying not to hear the drumming and screaming. It is not possible to survive in town today or tonight. Crowdy. Staying inside is no kind of protest against the celebrations, it is simply a strategy to stay alive.