Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Jan Troell film, so you can say that I had no (clear) expectations, which I believe it was the best state of mind to watch this absolutely beautiful movie that easily will grab your attention and engage you with the most beautiful images and a simple –yet very compelling- story about a young working class woman survival in early 1900s Sweden. The movie tells a very realistic story but does it in the most magical way you can imagine. Fantastic!
The film tells a true-life-inspired story of Maria Larsson told by her older daughter Maja and basically starts when Maria marries Sigge and follows them in a tumultuous marriage that produced seven children; but Sigge is often drunk, unfaithful and abusive. Still, Maria’s father told her that she had to stay with Sigge until her death and she endures her husband especially because thanks to a camera she won at a lottery, she uncovers her very special gift: the gift of seeing, as she takes the most beautiful photographs. So, even if there is the raw realism of a troubled marriage, there is the magical story of a hard workingwoman with a large family to feed in volatile times that through the lenses found art.
If the above story was not dramatically and emotionally enough, there is something else happening in the movie that is told in the background and will also take you in into one of the most exceptional voyages, as not often you learn a History lesson in this remarkable way. The movie also tells about Sweden History in those years when major Swedish society changes started to emerge. So, in the end this is a remarkable story about the birth of an artist and the birth of a modern nation.
I have no doubt that the movie and story becomes so impact full because it’s a story co written by Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell and Jan Troell that tells about Agneta’s (yes is Troell’s wife) real-life relative, which I believe allowed them to do an amazing tribute to Larsson and a beautiful love letter to the art of photography.
Such story could not be told but with excellent cinematography with amazing use of light and many just beautiful frames that yes, they look like timeless photographs; outstanding sets and careful attention to details that totally recreate the era, and the most extraordinary performances by a large cast. But definitively the movie belongs to three exceptional performers Maria Heiskanen (Maria Larsson), Mikael Persbrandt (Sigge) and Jesper Christensen that plays Sebastian Pedersen, the photography store owner that stimulates Maria to pursue her art and something else that you have to see the movie to learn it.
Even if is a Nordic co-production the film was Sweden submission to the 2009 Academy Awards that made the short list but didn’t got a nomination; still, this honored movie got a Golden Globe nomination and won 6 awards at the 2009 Guldbagge Awards and please browse the blog to find other honors.
This is such an uplifting story with extremely beautiful to watch visuals that I strongly recommend to serious cinema lovers; but since has an epic engaging story I also suggest to many that read the blog to give it a try.
Last a special recommendation goes to some of my known readers that love photography as much as I do, please do not miss this amazing movie that I’m sure you all will enjoy this intense pleasure film as much as I did.