Now Streaming: A-HA: THE MOVIE, Tiring of the Light

Directed by Thomas Robsahm, the music doc on the Norwegian band is now streaming on Viaplay.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, US (@peteramartin)
Now Streaming: A-HA: THE MOVIE, Tiring of the Light

Speaking as an ill-informed American: I had no idea.

a-ha: The Movie
The film begins streaming March 29 on Viaplay.

In 1985, I watched "Take on Me," directed by Steve Barron, dozens if not hundreds of times. I was far more aware of the mesmerizing music video -- which you can watch below -- than I was of the band that recorded it. Surely they were a one-hit wonder.

Far from it.

As more knowledgeable music fans know, a-ha, consisting of Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (guitars and vocals), Magne Furuholmen (keyboards, guitars and vocals), and Morten Harket (lead vocals), created a synth-pop sound that became incredibly popular and led to a career that has stretched across the decades.

Directed by Thomas Robsahm, the documentary follows expected paths for a 'behind the music' type of film, starting in the present day and then circling back to explore the younger years of the band members and their influences. Paul and Magne lived in the same neighborhood from early childhood, but didn't meet until they were 13 years of age and discovered they shared the same passion for music.

They quickly formed a band, with each manifesting personality traits that would later prove divisive. As one of them says later on, though, they were never in it for the friendship: it was the music that drew them together.

The same applied to Morten after they met him and invited him to be their lead singer. They recognized that their shared passion for making music overrode any of their differences. Naturally, Morten's personality and charisma helped make him a star and the face of the band, which was fine for the other two, who were initially grateful to take a back seat.

Over the course of years, as the band became huge pop stars after the success of "Take on Me" and other hits, their differences began to tear them apart. Director Robsahm chooses not to interview any outside voices, and only occasionally quotes bits from band members' loved ones and music associates (producers and managers). It's a narrow focus, which limits the film's scope, making it sometimes feel a bit claustrophobic.

It's also a familiar story among music docs. What kept me watching was the perspective from three men born and raised in Norway, who were determined to become pop stars, and knew they had to leave home in order to make it.

In its own way, the limited perspective becomes a commentary on how artists from smaller nations and territories are only rewarded if they are single-minded in their drive for recognition and success, even if they become a snake that (eventually) eats its own tail, to the detriment of their professional relationships.

It feels something like soldiers who resist making friends on the field of battle, for fear that death is imminent. As a non-professional musician, I had no idea.

Now Streaming covers international and indie genre films and TV shows that are available on legal streaming services.

a-ha: The Movie

  • Thomas Robsahm
  • Aslaug Holm
  • Thomas Robsahm
  • a-ha
  • Morten Harket
  • Pål Waaktaar
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a-haDocumentarymusic docNorwayThomas RobsahmAslaug HolmMorten HarketPål WaaktaarBiographyMusic

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