… Par is coming rapidly up the road to meet her. She is happy to see him. Notice the back lighting in this shot. The film is a 1970 Swedish love story given the title A Swedish Love Story for US distribution. It is a thoroughly fascinating movie for its sheer honesty and simplicity.
The movie was made using next to no special effects, but the photography is a masterpiece, all done by one man who is considered the number one cameraman in Sweden. This dramatic backlighting is his signature and offers no only great silhouettes, but softens the features of the face.
The cast does an outstanding job, but the performances given my fourteen year old Ann Sofie Kylan as Annika and Rolf Solhman are pure genius. I’ve done a Video Slide Show of the film at this location at my Roxio Realto Theater …..
Here’s the best review I could find on A Swedish Love Story and it says almost everything I would want to say. It’s not often I find a review that parallels my feelings. This by Svet Atanasoy …
When Pär (Rolf Sohlman) meets Annika (Ann-Sofie Kylin) something magical happens! At first the two teens do not quite know what it is – they have never been in love before, they do not know how to react. But as time goes by it becomes apparent that Pär and Annika were meant for each other. Slowly but surely their parents also begin to see what everyone else already knows.
One of the greatest films of its decade director Roy Anderson’s En Kärlekshistoria a.k.a A Swedish Love Story (1970) is a surprisingly mature effort at describing teenage love to those who have never experienced it. Honest, sweet, and beautifully shot this is also a film that captures marvelously the spirit of a country on the verge of a massive economic crisis.
The greatest strength of this picture, a key element that will reappear in Anderson’s later works, is the meticulous character exploration made possible by long and devoid of unnecessary glamour takes. The director’s camera is frequently focused at accentuating different aspects from the main protagonists’ personas that would have likely escaped the viewer’s attention. A simple twitch, sigh, or glance is typically treated with utmost respect. Logically, such enormous emphasis on detail provide Anderson’s work with a near documentary feel, a sense of intimacy many directors are incapable of achieving.
In A Swedish Love Story the attention to detail is enormous! From the moment it becomes obvious that Pär and Annika will have to endure the suspicious looks of those around them Anderson’s camera begins to treat them differently. After a short introduction the audience sees that even though they are teens who think and act according to their age their emotions (joy, anger, fear, etc) reveal a different side. Pär and Annika become adults!
I have seen Anderson’s film more than a dozen times and each time I return to it I am always shocked to discover how incredibly honest its depiction of teenage love is. There isn’t any sugary sentimentality here, there aren’t any hidden moral lessons to be learned, and most certainly there isn’t any of the rancid teenage kitsch contemporary filmmakers are fascinated with. This is as pure of a film about love as you will ever see!
Furthermore, A Swedish Love Story is also an incredibly…Swedish film! With the risk of sounding cliché I must admit that I could hardly recall another film that manages to juxtapose so many themes representative of the Swedish state from the early 70s (competitiveness countered with liberalism, class awareness, etc) within its narrative. Not surprisingly Anderson, an outspoken social critic, spends a great deal of time caricaturing many of the values cherished by his countrymen.
Finally, A Swedish Love Story is a film about those who believe that cinema is about capturing what words can not describe! Certainly as far as human emotions are concerned! It is also a film that has that special ability to bring back to life memories most of us might have forgotten!!
In 1970 the film was nominated for Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. At the same festival the film won the prestigious UNICRIT Award (Roy Anderson) as well the Journalists’ Special Award.