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Under the Sun-Movie Review *** 11/18/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Brothers Manaki International Film Festival, Cinequest San Jose Film Festival, Comedy, Guldbagge Awards-Sweden, Highly recommended, Light Drama, Movies, Romantic comedy, San Sebastian International Film Festival, Swedish language film.
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Under the Sun (Swedish) 1998 ***
Under Solen

Directed by Colin Nutley
Starring Rolf Lassgård, Helena Bergström, and Johan Widerberg

NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards
WINNER, Silver Camera 300, Brothers Manaki International Film Festival
WINNER, Audience Favorite Choice Award, WINNER, Best Feature (both awards for Nutley), Cinequest San Jose Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Lassgård); Best Supporting Actor (Widerberg), Guldbagge Awards
WINNER, Special Mention (for quality acting); NOMINATED, Golden Seashell (Nutley), San Sebastian International Film Festival

Olof (Lassgård) is a shy farmer who lacks experience in matters of the heart. He is lacking sexual experience as well. At 40, he decides that it is time to find a mate. Olof, who can’t read, enlists help to place an ad in the paper looking for a housekeeper. When Ellen (Bergström) arrives, it doesn’t take long before Olof is totally smitten with her. But his friend Erik (Widerberg), whose motives are questionable, tries to convince each of them separately that the relationship has no future.

A very sweet and entertaining love story about an unlikely couple. The film is filled with funny scenes, especially via “friend” (and Elvis admirer) Erik.

Highly recommended.

130 min. Not rated. Not suitable for children (sexual content and language).


Everlasting Moments-Movie Review *** 11/11/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, Emotional Drama, Golden Globes, Guldbagge Awards-Sweden, Highly recommended, Independent Spirit Awards, Movies, Swedish language film.
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Everlasting Moments (Swedish) 2008 ***
Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick
From the Criterion Collection
Based on a true story

Among other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globes
WINNER, Best Achievement for Music (Matti Bye); Best Actor (Persbrandt); Best Actress (Heiskanen); Best Film; Best Supporting Actor (Christensen), Guldbagge Awards (Sweden)
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Film, Independent Film Awards

Directed by Jan Troell
Starring Maria Heiskanen, Mikael Persbrandt, Callin Ohrvall, and Jesper Christensen

A loving tribute to the life of Maria Larssons, co-written by relative Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell, who is also the wife of director Jan Troell. Maria (Heiskanen) was the wife of Sigfrid (Persbrandt) and the mother of six children, living in impoverished circumstances in turn of the 20th century Sweden. The story is narrated by Maja (Ohrvall), the oldest daughter of the family.

Before they are married, Maria’s husband is charming and sweeps her off her feet. Afterward, as she continues to bear his children, he is a drunkard and womanizer who tries to keep her servile to his whims. When Maria finds the camera they won in a lottery before they got married, she decides to sell it, but instead strikes up a friendship with Mr. Pedersen (Christensen), a local photographer. He encourages her to use the camera herself. She does and the world she sees through the lenses changes Maria’s life, if not her circumstances.

Although the overall story of Maria’s marriage is sad, her courage and spirit are to be admired. The sepia-toned cinematography and beautiful music add to the ambiance of the film, and at the end I felt like I do at the end of a novel I love, that I don’t want it to end.

The Special Features disc contains some of Maria’s photographs and interviews with still living relatives. Also, I liked this quote from director Troell in his interview (may not be exact): “Set the bar as high as possible because you know you’ll have to compromise.” I haven’t seen any other films by him, but given the opportunity I’d like to.

Highly recommended.
131 min. Not rated. Adult themes.