Sweden

Ingmar Bergman – Det regnar på vår kärlek AKA It Rains on Our Love (1946)

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It Rains on Our Love / Det regnar på vår kärlek (1946) was Bergman’s fourth film and it paints a very romantic picture of poverty and love on the run. Two young lovebirds from the wrong side of the tracks find peace of a kind in an idyllic, rural squatters’ community. It’s like a polished hybrid of a Frank Borzage film and the more sentimental elements of Italian neo-realism. The paternalistic narrative voice of the film is actually incarnated in one of the characters, a kindly lawyer. Read More »

Lukas Moodysson – Lilja 4-ever (2002)

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Lilja 4-ever is a 2002 drama film. It is director Lukas Moodysson’s third feature film which marks a sharp change of mood from his previous two films, the uplifting love story Show Me Love and Together, set in the 1970s. Lilja 4-ever is an unremittingly brutal and realistic story of the downward spiral of Lilja, played by Oksana Akinshina, a girl in the former Soviet Union whose mother abandons her to move to the United States. The story is loosely based on a true case and examines the issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery.

The film received positive reviews both in Sweden and abroad. It won five Guldbagge Awards including Best Film, and was nominated for Best Film and Best Actress at the European Film Awards. Read More »

Lukas Moodysson – Mammoth (2009)

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Aptly named, Mammoth is an elephantine dud from a director who has plenty to say about the state of the world – and not a whit of new insight to offer nor artistic invention to express it. Sweden’s Lukas Moodysson weighs in with a pedantic and patronizing lesson about globalization, ecology and how it’s ultimately the kids that suffer. Read More »

Lukas Moodysson – Ett hål i mitt hjärta aka A hole In My Heart (2004)

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A Hole in My Heart (Swedish: Ett hål i mitt hjärta) is a 2004 Swedish drama film written and directed by Lukas Moodysson, starring Thorsten Flinck, Sanna Bråding, Björn Almroth and Goran Marjanovic. The story revolves around a man who makes a pornographic film in his apartment with a friend and an attention-seeking starlet, while his teenage son stays in his room and listens to industrial rock.

The film is notable for its explicit imagery, including close-ups of vaginal reconstruction surgery, an anal sex scene without the use of lubrication, a masturbation scene with a toothbrush, and an extended scene about the woman’s “smelly vagina”. Moodysson leaves the interpretation of the film to the viewer: “I have cooked you a delicious meal, but I’m not going to chew it for you.” Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Fanny och Alexander [Theatrical Version] (1982)

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Plot Synopsis from ALLMOViE:

Though he made allusions to his own life in all of his films, Fanny and Alexander was the first overtly autobiographical film by Ingmar Bergman. Taking his time throughout (188 minutes to be exact), Bergman recreates several episodes from his youth, using as conduits the fictional Ekdahl family. Alexander, the director’s alter ego, is first seen at age 10 at a joyous and informal Christmas gathering of relatives and servants. Fanny is Alexander’s sister; both suffer an emotional shakedown when their recently-widowed mother (Ewa Froling) marries a cold and distant minister. Stripped of their creature comforts and relaxed family atmosphere, Fanny and Alexander suddenly find their childhood unendurable. The kids’ grandmother (Gunn Wallgren) “kidnaps” Fanny and Alexander for the purpose of showering them with the first kindness and affection that they’ve had since their father’s death. This “purge” of the darker elements of Fanny and Alexander’s existence is accomplished at the unintentional (but applaudable) cost of the hated stepfather’s life. Ingmar Bergman insisted that Fanny and Alexander, originally a multipart television series pared down to feature-film length, represented his final film, though within a year after its release he was busy with several additional Swedish TV projects, and he returned to make one more theatrical release movie before his death – the 2003 Saraband. Oscars went to Fanny and Alexander for Best Foreign Film, Best Cinematography (Sven Nykvist), Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Riten AKA Ritual (1969)

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Riten
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 »

Various – Stimulantia (1967)

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8 episodes, ranging from experimental to documentary to conventional narrative cinema, made by the most prominent Swedish film directors of the time to answer the question of what stimulates them most.

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It’s basically a project by Svensk filmindustri where different directors answer the question: “What are your stimuli?” (or something along those lines). E.g. Bergman says that nothing is more stimulating to him than his son’s face, while Jörn Donner more jokingly replies that it’s mainly money, “of course,” but also the idea of making a porno that’s different from the norms of the genre. Hans Alfredsson and Tage Danielsson (a.k.a. Hasse och Tage) seem to state that what really stimulates them is the opportunity to show off that they’ve read Balzac, while making fun of the entire idea; Molander is way more serious about the whole idea (“man tackar ju inte gärna nej till ett gott erbjudande”) while also promising that this will be his last film – a promise he seems to have kept, except for a few writing credits for tv. Read More »