Friday, February 22, 2008

Sweet Land

Lately I have been able to find quite interesting American cinema and this 2005 Ali Selim debut writing and directing is quite a little and quiet indie gem that is true a pleasure to watch.

Based on a short story by Will Weaver called “A Gravestone Made of Wheat” and set in the aftermath of WWI in a Minnesota farming village tells about a mail order bride from Snåsa, Norway that when she arrives in the mainly Norwegian descendants village gets a very cold reception as she’s a German immigrant with no papers. The story is told in three different times; the present with the grandson taking a difficult decision, the recent past with the grandson teen years when his grandfather dies and the time when his beloved grandmother Inge arrives to Minnesota.

This fantastic slow pace with not many words and lots of expressions and sights movie is an excellent movie with beautiful cinematography and some visual effects that add grandeur to this heartwarming and intelligently written love story.

Starring Elizabeth Reaser as Inge Ottenberg the mail order bride with a performance that I haven’t seen from her in TV or other feature films, as she is utterly brilliant with her expressions, sights and almost no words (the character didn’t spoke English) besides looking outstandingly beautiful. I’m impressed she can do this type of performance and wish she could have done half this good in the unimpressive Puccini for Beginners. This is a performance that Reaser fans cannot miss.

With a very good cast performing outstandingly, especially Alan Cumming in a role that fits him perfectly and that he delivers exquisitely; which to me is exceptional as I have seen him in Broadway, TV and films with roles that doesn’t allow him to perform as here – well, he produced this film and maybe that’s the reason why he was able to perform this good.

This is a movie I do recommend for American indie movie lovers, I cannot call it an art house movie as it is not, but comes very close. The movie has some nominations and awards in American fests and awards, including the 2007 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature Film.

This movie as a movie is impeccable, but I do recommend this movie more for the truly lovely, endearing and touching love story that tells.


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