Will Ferrell parodies the Eurovision Song Contest in “The Story of Fire Saga”. It’s not that easy, because the event has always operated hard on the border to self-parody.
To start with the jokes is of course risky because Pimmelwitzasketen could come up with the idea that this film is not for them. But no comedian can play Pimmelwitze as brilliantly as Will Ferrell, with the pathos of a great tragedy. When asked why he stuffed upholstery material into the crotch of his costume, he replied with a genuinely serious expression, as if he had at least the smartest idea since he invented the wheel: “Because I want my penis to look significantly larger, than he really is. “
Otherwise, the comedy “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”, which can be seen on Netflix, is less about cock than about music. Because the American Will Ferrell is married to a Swede who introduced him to the obscure world of the Eurovision Song Contest. “This event,” says Ferrell, “reaches a level of camp that is unlike anything we have in the States.” So, together with his co-author Andrew Steele, he came up with the story of an unsuccessful Icelandic musician who dreams of winning the ESC.
Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) had his little boy revival experience on April 6, 1974, when he watched TV Abba won the singing competition with “Waterloo” and became world stars. Lars’ life, however, has remained a single Waterloo since that day because he never made it out of the small coastal village of Húsavík. His father, a testosterone-controlled fisherman, played by Pierce Brosnan, is ashamed of his son’s glittery costume dreams. And when Lars appears in the pub in front of the drunken village community, they don’t want to hear his Eurovision compositions, they just want to hear the old “Jaja Dingdong”.
Parodying the ESC is not that easy
But Lars firmly believes that fate must have meant more for him than Jaja Dingdong. With his childhood friend Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) he has the duo Fire Saga founded to win the ESC. And by chance they actually get the chance to go to Edinburgh for the semi-finals in Iceland.
The whole story is, of course, just a mild alibi to parody the ESC, which is not that easy, because the event itself is operating hard on the border to self-parody. Which is why you have to bow especially to the composers of the film, who should write songs that are so exaggerated that you can understand them as a loving caricature in addition to the sometimes very bizarre ESC hits.
The filmmakers were looking for strong support for this, for example from songwriter and producer Savan Kotecha, who has already worked for Ariana Grande and The Weeknd has worked. For the film, Kotecha wrote Eurodance numbers with texts that sound as if they had been translated into English using Google Translate. For example, the completely insane number “Lion of Love”, with which the Russian applicant competes in the film. Of course there are guest appearances by real ESC participants such as Conchita Wurst, John Lundvig and Anna Odobescu.
And the two heroes of Fire Saga? At the end they are back on stage in the pub and warble “Jaja Dingdong”. But they have reached a level of being that you can only get to if you fell on stage in front of 200 million TV viewers in glittery costume, from a rope that should have lifted you to the highest heights.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, USA 2020 – Director: David Dobkin. Book: Will Ferrell, Andrew Steele. With: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan. Netflix, 123 minutes.