Sweden Cinema in the 1970’s

The 1970s were years of restructuring and crisis. The auteur cinema went through a period of stagnation from which it only came out in the following decade. The momentary eclipse of the major exponents of the generation of the Sixties was matched by the creative richness of I. Bergman, who continued the sounding of the human soul and personal reflection on the tragic nature of existence; but another exponent of Swedish cinema, Bo Widerberg – who had signed controversial and innovative works in the previous decade such as Elvira Madigan (1967), Adalen 31 (1969) and Joe Hill (1970) – saw his inspiration clouded in the 1970s: from 1974 is Fimpen (Fimpen the goalscorer), followed by two thrillers basedon successful novels, Mannen på tåket (“The Man on the Roof”, 1976) and Mannen fråan Mallorca (“The Man from Mallorca”, 1980). More original appear Victoria (1979) and above all Ormens väg på hälleberget (“The footprint of the snake on the rock”, 1986). For Sweden 2010, please check programingplease.com.

Spectacularity and a keen eye on the market are the characteristics of the works of V. Sjöman and J. Troell in the last twenty years; of the former, only En handful Kärlek (Corruption of a Swedish family, 1974) deserves to be mentioned, in which eroticism and sexuality become a metaphor for an ideological parable, according to a modality that will also be typical of subsequent, less successful, works this author, who has presented in Venice in 1989 Fallgropen (“the trap”), not too original philosophical reflection on the silence of God. Troell, alongside the best work of his Hollywood brackets, Zandy’s bride (Zandy’s bride, 1974), we remember Ingenjör Andréas Luttford (The flight of the eagle), shot in 1982 after returning home and starring M. von Sydow.

Rather than comedies (in which the actor G. Ekman dominates), thrillers and children’s films, popular genres whose production has intensified in recent years, a revival of Swedish cinema appears to be entrusted to the new beginnings of the Eighties. Bergmanian interpreters such as I. Thulin, E. Josephson and G. Lindholm pass behind the camera with films of a certain depth: En och en (Noi due unappia, 1977) is signed by I. Thulin, E. Josephson and the Bergmanian director of photography Sweden Nykvist; Brusten himmel (“Cielo obuscato “, 1981) is signed by Thulin alone, who has the opportunity to show you remarkable artistic skills; Lindholm is also responsible for two of the best Swedish films of the period, Sally och friheten (“Sally and freedom”, 1981) and Sommarkvällar på jorden (“Summer evenings on earth”, 1985), sensitive female portraits that reflect the contradictions of society. Also noteworthy is the debut behind the camera by another Bergmanian actor, M. von Sydow, who presented Katinka, produced in Denmark at Cannes (1989).

It seems that we can speak of a revival of Swedish cinema in the 1980s thanks to new filmmakers: we remember, among others, L. Oskarsson (Andra darsen, “The second dance”, 1981; Den frusna leoparden, “The ice leopard”, 1986), Sweden Jarl (Ett auständigt liv, “A respectable life”, 1978; Naturens hamnd, “The revenge of nature”, 1983) and C.-G. Nykvist, whose first feature, Kvinnorna på taket (“Women on the roof”, 1988), set in a photographer’s studio in Stockholm on the eve of the First World War, is centered on the symbolic meaning of light. Finally, in recent years, a good success has come to the work of L. Hallström, active since 1975, who achieved international fame with Mitt liv som hund (La mia vita a quattro zampe, 1985), a touching story of a child struggling with the difficulties of growth.

Sweden Cinema in the 1970's