Sweden

Susanne Bier – Pensionat Oskar AKA Like It Never Was Before (1995)

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An offbeat but very watchable black comedy about a hotel handyman who precipitates the breakup of a family, “Like It Never Was Before” could get solid box office returns both in Sweden and abroad, with careful handling.

Pic is the first script by popular gay writer and standup comic Jonas Gardell, a well-known media personality in Sweden, whose wit targets both gays and gay-bashers. His books are always instant bestsellers. Read More »

Staffan Roos – Limpan (1983)

Charles Lindberg is an alcoholic, through and true. Always on the butt-end of the authorities he is only trying to make a decent living, and get some drink aswell… Read More »

Peter Cartriers & Daniel Fridell – Sökarna AKA The Seekers [Uncensored] (1993)

Jocke is a troubled young man with a nasty right swing and a penchant for violence. His friends Gurra and Ray are not much better. There is no better evening sport than to beat up a couple of nazi skinheads and score some chicks – even if it leads to a path of doom. Read More »

Peter Nestler – Något om USA:s indianer (1978)

Documentary short made for Swedish public television (SVT) about the past and current situation for Native Americans in the US. The film was produced as an introduction to the American documentary Navajo Girl (Robert Young, 1973). Något om USA:s indianer [Something about the Indians in the USA] is another example of Nestler’s method of combining still photos, drawings and moving images from different sources. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Skammen AKA Shame (1968)

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Ingmar Bergman’s Shame is at once an examination of the violent legacy of World War II and a scathing response to the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star as musicians living in quiet retreat on a remote island farm, until the civil war that drove them from the city catches up with them there. Amid the chaos of the military struggle, vividly evoked by pyrotechnics and by Sven Nykvist’s handheld camera work, the two are faced with impossible moral choices that tear at the fabric of their relationship. This film, which contains some of the most devastating scenes in Bergman’s oeuvre, shows the impact of war on individual lives. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Beröringen aka The Touch (1971)

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Bergman’s little-seen English-language film starring Elliott Gould and Bibi Andersson, which charts the course of a doomed affair, earned mixed reviews on release in 1971 and was quickly overshadowed by his subsequent works – but it’s time to recognise it as a major entry in the director’s canon.

It’s unsurprising that many myths and misconceptions have arisen surrounding Ingmar Bergman, that of the terminally gloomy Swede being merely the most prevalent. Here, after all, is someone acknowledged as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time yet viewed by those none too familiar with his body of work as a whole as a forbiddingly lofty, aloof philosopher rather than an artist or entertainer. (Even a feature in last month’s Sight & Sound claimed that some of Bergman’s films might today “be considered so wilfully opaque and mired in symbolism as to be past the point of parody”.) Read More »

Nina Hedenius – Det speglar i mitt öga AKA My Eye Is Reflecting (1992)

Independent filmmaker Nina Hedenius Det speglar i mitt öga [My Eye Is Reflecting] is a poetic film on the act of seeing and on the details that rarely gets our attention. The film is a collage of diverse scenes depicting life, death, objects and people; a Swedish crayfish party, a classroom, cows in the meadow, the Stockholm subway… With musical effects by Ralph Lundsten. Read More »