1921-1930DramaIvar JohanssonRomanceScandinavian Silent CinemaSweden

Ivar Johansson – Rågens rike AKA The Kingdom of Rye (1929)

Rågens rike is a Romeo and Juliet-esque romantic drama, set in the rural landscapes of Helsingland in northern Sweden. It is the debut feature of Ivar Johansson, who was inspired by the Soviet montage cinema when he made it. In 2007 it was selected by Ingmar Bergman as one of his all-time favorite Swedish movies.

It’s fascinating to watch these films in the borderland between silent film and sound film in the late 1920’s. One then sees that the art of cinema, if it had remained silent, was about to develop its very own language, which it claimed with considerable force.

I’m thinking of the Russian cinema or of Murnau. His Last Laugh is a film that is made completely without intertitles. It is completely clear and completely enjoyable even today. Murnau was the one who came farthest in telling without texts. I myself have tried to work with a minimum of dialogues when I did The Silence. I thought it was so great to try to tell without dialogue.

By the way, there is a Finnish film in cinemas now, which is a completely silent film, Juha by Aki Kaurismäki. It’s nice but it has an ironic touch that is completely unnecessary really. If he now takes the bold step and makes a pure silent film, I think he should be even bolder and not ironic.

But The Kingdom of Rye is a wonderfully told film. It is nicely played and well staged. Ivar Johansson, like so many of these directors, has been forgotten. He was inspired by the Russian cinema and there are scenes in The Kingdom of Rye that are magnificent in the same way. It is a film from this film historical borderland and it feels important to pay attention to Ivar Johansson. Much later he recorded the same film with sound, but it is much paler. The Kingdom of Rye from 1926 is a cool flick.

Ingmar Bergman (2007)

728MB | 2h 15m | 468×340 | mkv


Subtitles:English,Swedish intertitles

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