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The Politics of Passion

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Between a rock and a hard place: David (Björn Kjellman, center), flanked by his political aides, Fia (Tova Magnusson-Norling) and Jörgen (André Wickström), ponders his sudden attraction to another man in Magnusson-Norling’s Four More Years.

‘Four More Years’ offers international insight into an age-old challenge
by Nancy Ford

Politics make strange bedfellows, as Bill and Hillary Clinton, and James Carville and Mary Matalan will likely attest.

In Four More Years (Fyra år till), a romantic comedy with a gay twist, we learn that the only thing more damaging to a politician’s career than being outed as gay is to be outed as being in bed, whether literally or figuratively, with the opposition political party.

Swedish politician David Holst (Björn Kjellman) is in precisely that predicament, finding himself with an unexpected, all-consuming attraction to a man in the opposition party, though he and his Type-A, fitness-obsessed campaign coordinator/wife, Fia (Tova Magnusson-Norling, who also directs) do their best to maintain their marriage while simultaneously advancing his political career.

David is a Social Democrat, and Martin (Eric Ericson) is a big-shot in the Conservative Alliance—two men trying their best to serve their country and save the world, but utilizing very different approaches and philosophies. As they fall in love, David and Martin attempt a closeted relationship, arranging private rendezvous on remote beaches and cramped public restrooms. After disappearing for a number of days so he can spend some quality time with the object of his affection, David uncharacteristically tells his campaign staff he’s in the middle of negotiations when, in reality, he’s eating breakfast in his underpants with his new paramour.

Still, David is reluctant to embrace the fact that he is a gay man, and puts forward the “compromise” that he may be bisexual. His love responds with one of the most unique assessments of bisexuality we may ever see on screen.

Fia may have married for political expediency—much like some of the highly visible, aforementioned political power couples we have become familiar with here in the United States—but ultimately reveals a depth of knowledge about her marriage that may make her the charming hero of this charming film.

Featuring furniture we’ll likely see in next year’s Ikea catalogue, Four More Years teaches us that love is indeed a universal language, no matter who is speaking it: listen carefully to the score’s poppy Swedish lyrics, which phonetically sound like “Slip up in me, in my body” during one touching scene between the two men.

Even more importantly, it teaches us that Americans have a lot to learn about how Europeans in general, and Swedes in particular, deal with themes of sexuality, fidelity, and what is considered “moral.”

And, who knew that Mad Magazine also publishes in Swedish?

Swedish with English subtitles. 2010. Tova Magnusson-Norling directs. October 9. TLA Releasing (tlareleasing.com).

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