Sweden

Jan Troell – Dom över död man man AKA The Last Sentence (2012)

Torgny Segerstedt (Jesper Christensen) was one of the leading journalists in Sweden in the 20th century. As managing editor of the Gothenburg economic daily Handelstidningen, he fought a one-man battle against Adolf Hitler and fascism throughout the war years. It was a difficult fight, only made possible because of his reputation, the power of his conviction and the fact that he had friends in high places, not least among them his lover, the Jewish intellectual Maja Forssman (another tour de force performance from Pernilla August), the wife of his publisher. Exquisitely filmed in black and white, The Last Sentence continues Troell’s mission to illuminate history. Read More »

Roy Andersson – Commercials (Various)

“A selection of Andersson’s droll little capitalist nightmares (‘the best in the world’ according to Ingmar Berman) featuring color-drained people who have ceased to be consumers and become the consumed. Middle-aged newlyweds pound one another’s skulls with appliances; new purchases bring disasters; and an infamous ad for Sweden’s Social Democratic Party rhetorically asks ‘Why Should We Care About One Another’ as nurses offhandedly toss patients around rooms, teachers shake down kids for lunch money, and commuters kick a man while he’s down” (Jason Sanders, Pacific Film Archive). Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Hamnstad AKA Port of Call (1948)

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Strongly influenced by the neorealist films of Roberto Rossellini, Port of Call is Ingmar Bergman’s most naturalistic work. Shot on location in the port of Göteborg by Gunnar Fischer (who would become one of the director’s key collaborators), the film focuses on the tentative relationship between Gösta (Bengt Eklund), a sincere, easygoing seaman, and Berit (NineChristine Jönsson), a suicidal young woman from a broken home. As Berit reveals more about her troubled past, and the couple confront many harsh realities in the present, a meaningful bond begins to form between them. With this confident and disciplined feature, his fifth, Bergman tackled moral and social issues head-on. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Larmar och gör sig till AKA In the Presence of a Clown (1997)

“In the Presence of a Clown (Swedish: Larmar och gör sig till) is a television film by Ingmar Bergman, recorded for Swedish television in 1997 with Bergman as a director. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. It tells the story of a professor named Carl, who has been found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to treatment in a mental ward. In the hospital he befriends a man named Osvald, and they attempt to make and promote a film.

The film was produced for Sveriges Television from Bergman’s 1994 play of the same title. ” Read More »

Roy Andersson – Sånger från andra våningen AKA Songs from the second floor (2000)

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Unique, arresting and often grotesquely funny, Songs from the Second Floor presents us with 45 obsessively composed dramatic vignettes of decaying civilisation, set in and around a clammy Nordic city resembling a 1930s surrealist prophecy of Y2K apocalypse. There’s no plot, only a cumulative sense of impending doom as the hapless cast of failed businessmen, insurance swindlers, crucifix salesmen and senile fascists fitfully negotiate their way towards the ultimate betrayal of future generations. — BG

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Ingmar Bergman – Kvinnors väntan AKA Waiting Women (1952)



While at a summerhouse, awaiting their husbands’ return, a group of sisters-in-law recount stories from their respective marriages. Rakel (Anita Björk) tells of receiving a visit from a former lover (Jarl Kulle); Marta (Maj-Britt Nilsson) of agreeing to marry a painter (Birger Malmsten) only after having his child; and Karin (Eva Dahlbeck) of being stuck with her husband (Gunnar Björnstrand) in an elevator, where they talk intimately for the first time in years. Making dexterous use of flashbacks, the engaging Waiting Women is a veritable seedbed of Bergman themes, ranging from aspiring young love to the fear of loneliness, with the finale a masterpiece of chamber comedy. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Riten AKA Ritual (1969)



A judge in an unnamed country interviews three actors, together and singly, provoking them while investigating a pornographic performance for which they may face a fine. Their relationships are complicated: Sebastian, volatile, a heavy drinker, in debt, guilty of killing his former partner, is having an affair with that man’s wife. She is Thea, high strung, prone to fits, and seemingly fragile, currently married to Sebastian’s new partner, Hans. Hans is the troupe leader, wealthy, self-contained, growing tired. The judge plays on the trio’s insecurities, but when they finally, in a private session with him, perform the masque called The Rite, they may have their revenge. Read More »