Ruben Östlund – De Ofrivilliga aka Involuntary (2008)


Involuntary is a series of stories exploring different perspectives on the power of a group over the individual. At once humorous and poignant, each situation raises questions about the value of the opinions of others: a man injured at his own party prefers to soldier on through the festivities rather than ruin the night for everyone else; a group of teenage girls pout, preen and flirt, pushing one another further in social and sexual games; a schoolteacher carries out a psychological experiment on her class to illustrate the power of peer pressure; and, at a drunken reunion a young man exploits his mates’ willingness to go with the flow to take advantage of another friend. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Viskningar och rop AKA Cries and Whispers [+Extras] (1972)


In his book Images, Ingmar Bergman has written: “All my films can be thought of in terms of black and white, except for Cries and Whispers. In the screenplay it says that red represents the interior of the soul. When I was a child, I imagined the soul to be a dragon, a shadow floating in the air like blue smoke – a huge winged creature, half bird, half fish. But inside the dragon, everything was red.”

Certainly, Cries and Whispers marks the most sophisticated use of color in Bergman’s long career. It was only in 1963 that he turned, somewhat reluctantly, to color for All These Women, and even after that he continued to opt for black and white in such critical films as Persona, Hour of the Wolf, and Shame. With Cries and Whispers, however, Bergman for once – by his own admission – wants the work to be regarded in chromatic terms. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – En passion AKA The Passion of Anna [+Extras] (1969)


The Passion of Anna is a 1969 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Its original Swedish title is En passion, which means “A passion”. Bergman was awarded Best Director at the 1971 National Society of Film Critics Awards for the film.

Plot Summary:
Andreas, a man struggling with the recent demise of his marriage and his own emotional isolation, befriends a married couple also in the midst of psychological turmoil. In turn he meets Anna, who is grieving the recent deaths of her husband and son. She appears zealous in her faith and steadfast in her search for truth, but gradually her delusions surface. Andreas and Anna pursue a love affair, but he is unable to overcome his feelings of deep humiliation and remains disconnected. Meanwhile, the island community is victimized by an unknown person committing acts of animal cruelty. Continue reading

Sofia Norlin – Ömheten AKA Broken Hill Blues (2013)


Underground explosions cause the snow to flutter down from the trees and the houses to shake. The ground beneath Kiruna is so brittle that soon all the inhabitants of Sweden’s northernmost town will have to move to another place. It seems the mining company has decided everyone’s future – for good or for bad. In her first feature film, which only has sparse dialogue and is more a series of atmospheric images than a linear story, the director describes the feelings of the young people who live here. Markus has no interest in anything except cars and resists all of his parents’ well-intentioned attempts to give him advice. Daniel has big problems with his father who is addicted to alcohol. Both lads are continuously on edge. The sound of heavy machinery, the squealing of conveyor belts and the metallic hammering of drills pervades the air. In winter it’s bitterly cold; in summer it’s sunny and green. The breathtaking beauty of the landscape is ruptured by the huge industrial sites and slag heaps. Continue reading