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Big John

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There is a fine line between loving and protecting, to shielding and controlling one’s child. This notion is brought to the forefront in this story, where the father sacrifices his own career in order to support his son’s professional boxing.

John Klemetsen coaches his son in one of the toughest sports in the world. Ole has a tremendous talent for boxing and becomes national champion at age 15. The father decides everything. Ole is only to concentrate on boxing. The whole family helps developing Ole.

Team Klemetsen is a success. Ole signs a professional contract with one of the worlds’s best known managers in the USA, Emanuel Steward. Big John quits his job and comes along to Kronk Gym in Detroit. The goal is to make Ole world champion.

It is too late to turn around when Big John understands that Ole has become a pawn in a game of big bucks. Ole is knocked out for the first time ever, and wakes up in the locker room. His father Big John is frightened, but they cannot give up now. They have sacrificed everything to reach the goal of becoming world champion. After many ups and downs, an amputated finger, and a few more knock-outs done by Ole, they finally reach the target: Ole will fight for the title.

Today Ole is retired from pro boxing, and he struggles to find a new career. Team Klemetsen is now a traveling dance orchestra. Ole ”The Golden Viking” Klemetsen plays guitar, the father Big John is the front man and singer. The orchestra plays in dance halls and hotels in the Stavanger area two to three times a week.

This story is narrated on two levels. We follow Team Klemetsen in present day as they travel to gigs, and we get to know the family. There is a huge gap between the glamourous life of a pro boxer and working as a dance orchestra musician. Big John tells stories from the time in the boxing circuit. He narrates with great gusto. The anecdotes are small, independent stories which take us back in time. The film is partially based on a large selection of archive footage from their appearances in the media. This footage makes situations of the past come to life.

Back in present day we join Ole in his search for a new life. Is Ole a victim of his father’s control? Will Big John continue to pay his son’s bills, and will his mother Wenche continue to wash his clothes? Will the once world famous boxer be able to find a real job?



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