Roy Andersson – En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron AKA A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014)


Like modern times’ Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sam and Jonathan, two travelling salesmen peddling novelty items, take us on a kaleidoscopic wandering through human destinies. A trip that shows us the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, the humour and tragedy that is in us, life’s grandeur as well as frailty of humanity. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence was Awarded Golden Lion for Best Film at the 2014 Venice International Film Festival. Continue reading

Kristian Levring – The King Is Alive (2000)


When a bus breaks down in the desert, the passengers decide to stage “King Lear.”

Thinking Inside the Box
Rating * Has redeeming facet

The King Is Alive, directed and cowritten by Kristian Levring, is the fourth film to have the dubious honor of qualifying for certification under the rules of the Dogma 95 manifesto, whose professed aim is to get back to the basics of realism — shooting, for example, in natural locations with handheld cameras, direct sound, and natural lighting. But what’s basic or realistic and what isn’t, in terms of film history and technique? The manifesto also insists that movies be shot in color, a rather ahistorical reading of what’s basic — unless one labels all possible uses of color in film realistic and all possible uses of black and white artificial. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – För att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor aka All These Women (1964)


“All These Women (Swedish: För att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor), originally released as Now About These Women in the UK, is a 1964 Swedish comedy film directed by Ingmar Bergman. It is a parody of Fellini’s 8½.[1][2] Along with Smiles of a Summer Night, the film is one of the few comedy films ever made by Bergman. It also was Bergman’s first film to be shot in colour.”

“The director, who also collaborated on the script, is labyrinthine in his approach to his story and his initial use of color. A tongue-in-cheek subtitle states that “any resemblance between this film and reality must be a mistake.” But it is abundantly clear that it is Mr. Bergman’s intention to be serious about the occasionally elusive points he is making.” Continue reading

Kjell Grede – Harry Munter (1969)


Harry Munter, a sensitive, kind, appealing man in his twenties, lives with his parents. He’s an inventor, a bit of a mystic, maybe a genius, and a good son and grandson. He’s offered work in the U.S. But a friend has cancer and the world is changing in ways that provoke profound sadness

Amos Vogel in “Film as Subversive Art”:  ”A powerful, poetic image: the mystery of black against white, of an outsider walking on the water, on stilts, Christ-like, stubborn, the tension of his forward-leaning body reflecting his determination. This, indeed, is the topic of this intensely mysterious, lyrical film, one of the most original and disregarded works of contemporary cinema.” Continue reading

Vilgot Sjöman – Syskonbädd 1782 AKA My Sister My Love (1966)


Set in Sweden in 1782. Jacob, a young nobleman (Per Oscarsson) returns from France to his home and cherished sister Charlotte (Bibi Andersson) who is engaged to Baron Alsmeden (Jarl Kulle). The siblings close relationship becomes incestuous and with fear that the disclosure of Charlotte’s pregnancy will make society view them as libertines, the lovers ultimately choose to part. Jacob decides to leave the country and Charlotte is left to marry the Baron, but it is too late to prevent the final tragedy. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Riten aka The Ritual (1969)


From Bergmanorama:

The Rite deals with a touring variety troupe called “Les Riens,” who are prosecuted and summoned to an interrogation because one of their numbers is considered grossly indecent. They are confronted with the judge’s accusations, which are extremely vague. The judge’s interrogation is harsh and relentless, it humiliates the artists, confuses them, shakes their self-confidence. Who are we? What is the meaning of our lives? – that is, our art?

In a series of taught scenes with great dramatic power and tension Bergman lets the three artists reveal themselves to the spectator’s astonished gaze. In scenes of passion, of blood, of darkness, which are occasionally broken by gleams of hope and consolation, the author gives a vision of what it means to be an artist and of art’s sanctity and curse. In the rite that forms the finale of the film, Art has avenged itself on reason. The artists, the abused ones, have spoken. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Musik i mörker AKA Music in Darkness (1948)


Bergman writing on the genesis of the film in Images: My Life in Film:
‘In spite of all that happened, Lorens Marmstedt did not throw me out. With great diplomacy he pointed out that now would be the perfect time for at least one modest audience success. Otherwise my days as a movie director migth be numbered. A Ship Bound for India as well as It Rains on our Love had been made for Sweden’s Folkbiografer. Now Marmstedt suggested that I make a film for his own company, Terrafilm. It must be noted that Lorens was a passionate gambler, able to put his money on the same number a whole evening. Continue reading