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The 100-Year-Old Man . . . Movie Review *** 10/30/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Adventure, Based on a novel, Chicago International Film Festival, Comedy, Dark Comedy, European Film Awards, Movies, Swedish language film.
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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Swedish) 2013
Based on the novel by Jonas Jonasson

Directed by Felix Herngren
Starring Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, and David Wiberg

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Audience Choice Award (Herngren), Chicago International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Audience Award (Herngren), European Film Awards

Allan Karlsson (Gustafsson) doesn’t want to celebrate his 100th birthday at the nursing home, so he opens the window of his room and climbs out. Off he goes on an adventure that will eventually include disposing of a dead body.

The quirky tale of Allan’s latest adventure is interspersed with flashbacks from what has been a most unusual life. We see events of decades of history unfold through a series of coincidences that brought him into contact with major players; unwittingly he influenced the course of history.

The 100 Year old man is not your usual generic look at aging. If you like dark humor, this movie should tickle your funny bone.

Highly recommended. ***

114 min. Rated R.

For more info:
The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared

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Autumn Sonata-DVD Review *** 02/04/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, César Awards, David di Donatello Awards, Drama, Emotional Drama, Golden Globes, Highly recommended, Ingmar Bergman, Movies, National Society of Film Critics Awards, Psychological Suspense, Swedish language film.
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AUTUMN SONATA (Swedish) 1978 ***
Höstsonaten
Criterion Collection

Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Starring Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann, and Halvar Bjork

Among several other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Ingrid Bergman); Best Screenplay (Ingmar Bergman), Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Foreign Film; NOMINATED, Best Actress-Drama (Ingrid Bergman), Golden Globes
WINNER, Best European Film (Ingmar Bergman), César Awards
WINNER, Best Foreign Actress (both Ingrid Bergman and Ullmann), David di Donatello Awards
WINNER, Best Actress (Ingrid Bergman), National Society of Film Critics Awards

Charlotte (Bergman), a famous concert pianist, visits the isolated home of her daughter Eva (Ullmann), who lives quietly with her minister husband Viktor (Bjork). The two haven’t seen each other for years, and the visit starts out on an optimistic note. But soon the family secrets work their way to the surface.

Autumn Sonata provides an opportunity to see two outstanding actresses face each other under the direction of a master of portraying emotions. During his lifetime, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman was nominated for a total of nine Oscars and won many other awards. Director Ingmar and actress Ingrid, who are not related, reportedly had some differences of opinion during the making of Autumn Sonata, and much has been made of the parallel situations in this film and Ingrid Bergman’s own much-publicized personal life, something she too acknowledged. This was her next-to-last film; she died in 1982. Actress Liv Ullmann is still making films; her latest is Two Lives (2012), a thriller set in Norway.

Highly recommended.

93 min. Rated PG (harsh and highly emotional situations)

For more info:
Autumn Sonata (Criterion Collection)

Sound of Noise-DVD Review 06/18/2013

Posted by dmbinder in Cannes Film Festival, Chlotrudis Awards, Comedy, Crime, Molodist International Film Festival, Movies, Musical, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Swedish language film, Warsaw International Film Festival.
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SOUND OF NOISE (Swedish) 2010

Directed by Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjarne Nilsson
Starring Bengt Nilsson, Magnus Börjeson, Marcus Boij, Johannes Björk,
Fredrik Myhr, Anders Vestergard, and Sanna Persson

WINNER, Young Critics Award-Best Feature, Cannes Film Festival
NOMINATED, Buried Treasure, Chlotrudis Awards
WINNER, Audience Award-Full-length Films, Molodist International Film Festival
WINNER, New Voices/New Visions Special Jury Mention; NOMINATED, New Voices/New Visions Grand Jury Prize, (both Simonsson and Nilsson), Palm Springs International Film Festival
WINNER, Audience Award-Feature Film; Free Spirit Award, Warsaw International Film Festival

A truly unusual story about six percussionists who wreak havoc around the city by performing musical numbers that use a variety of things–from the human body to vehicles–as instruments. It falls to tone-deaf policeman Amadeus Warnebring (Bengt Nilsson) to pursue them. Warnebring, who was raised in a highly musical environment (his brother, a celebrated conductor, was a child prodigy), hates the sound of music.

Funny and entertaining. And definitely different. Loved the music! Listen to some here. Hope the link’s not too choppy.)

102 min. Rated R.

For more info:
Sound of Noise

Ariel-DVD Review 04/28/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Dark Comedy, Finnish language film, Light Drama, Moscow International Film Festival, Movies, National Society of Film Critics Awards, Romance, Swedish language film.
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ARIEL (Finnish) 1988
Written and directed by Aki Kaurismaki
Starring Turo Pajala and Susanna Haavisto

WINNER, Bronze St. George-Best Actor (Pajala); FIPRESCI Prize (Kaurismaki); NOMINATED Golden St. George (Kaurismaki), Moscow International Film Festival
WINNER, NFSC Award-Best Foreign Language Film, National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA

After the mine he was working in closes down and his father commits suicide, Taisto (Pajala) gets thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. He escapes and leaves town, hoping to find a new life in a big southern city. Almost immediately he meets Irmeli (Haavisto); they strike up a very low-key romance, but soon Taisto gets caught up in trouble.

Dry and quirky humor. Not a big award winner, this short (only 73 min.) film definitely has the 80s look about it. It’s the second part of Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy, which also includes Shadows in Paradise and The Match Factory Girl.

73 min.

On Amazon, I could only find it as part of the Criterion Collection.
Aki Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy

Here it is on IMDB:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094675/

Under the Sun-DVD 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).

Check it out on Amazon: Under the Sun (Under Solen)

or Netflix

Everlasting Moments-DVD 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.

For more info:
Everlasting Moments (The Criterion Collection)

As It Is In Heaven-DVD Review 04/03/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Light Drama, Movies, Swedish language film.
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As It Is In Heaven (Swedish) 2005

Among other awards and nominations:
Nominated, Best Foreign Film, Academy Awards
Nominated, Best Foreign Feature Film Amanda Awards (Norway)
Nominated, Audience Award, Best Director (Pollak); Best Composer (Stefan Nillson), European Film Awards

Directed by Kay Pollak
Starring Michael Nyqvist and Frida Hallgren

Charming tale about a world-renowned conductor from Northern Sweden who returns to his childhood home to die. He agrees to oversee the motley crew of locals who form the church choir. As they learn to let loose vocally, he learns about love.

132 min. Not rated.

More info at:
As It Is in Heaven