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Ingeborg Holm's husband opens up a grocery store and life is on the sunny side for them and their three children. But her husband becomes sick and dies. Ingeborg tries to keep the store, but because of the lazy, wasteful staff she eventually has to close it. With no money left, she has to move to the poor-house and she is separated from her children. Her children are taken care of by foster-parents, but Ingeborg simply has to get out of the poor-house to see them again... Written by
The Holms are a happy Swedish family who live an easy bourgeoisie life. In order to further improve their living, Herr Sven Holm requests a line of credit in the amount of 10.000 kronor in order to open a grocery shop.
Unfortunately things will change drastically for the Holms when Herr Sven falls ill with tuberculosis and dies. The grocery store, in the meanwhile, was left improperly unattended by an employee. Frau Ingeborg Holm is left bankrupt and alone with her three small children. This forces her to ask for help in a poorhouse.
Sweden has contributed to mankind some debatable inventions. For example, there's the safe but unstylish tank automobiles made in that Northern country ( nothing in common with elegant "Hispano-Suiza" cars )... or.. that modernen and consequently, ugly furniture manufactured in pieces that the buyer must to try to assemble ( ah, the "Rococo" overloaded style! ) ...or ...with not a trace of a four string quartets, the Swedish instead tormented aristocracy with bands of four longhaired youngsters singing tunes that even today are popular among commoners But certainly the most important Swedish contribution to the whole world was Social Security for their population via a program that provides protection to their commoners with unemployment insurance, poverty protection and pensions, among others. It's a public welfare state that other countries will model years later.
But unfortunately things weren't always that way as Herr Victor Sjöström depicted in his early silent film "Ingeborg Holm", directed by the Swedish director in the silent year of 1913.
The film was based on a play by Herr Nils Krok, who can be seen posing as the film starts in an elegant old photograph ( nothing in common with the coloured ones that the youngsters put in their modernen profiles ). The picture version tells the human tragedy of Frau Ingeborg Holm, who due to circumstances and the blows of fate, will face destitution. Her personal drama is worsened by the unsympathetic and strict poorhouse rules that during the last centuries were applied by Swedish officialdom.
Herr Sjöström admirably depicts the process of loss that affects Frau Holm's life and her desperation, abandonment, helplessness and finally insanity. It's a terrible sad odyssey that Frau Holm will suffer and includes making heartbreaking decisions such as when she is forced to put her children in an orphanage.
Certainly "Ingeborg Holm" is not an easy film. It is an uncomfortable drama in which Herr Sjöström denounces in a realistic and harsh way the injustice caused by strict central government laws that have no concern for their subjects.
Such bitterer sensations continue during the whole film climaxing at the end of the picture when Frau Holm, after 15 years, reunites again with one of her sons. This is a wonderful scene full of infinite sadness and very moving ( at this point it must be said that the original music score composed and performed by Herr David Drazin for the longhaired "Kino" modernen disc edition, is absolutely touching and elegant ).
But this is not a happy ending because there is no comfort in this reunion; there is not a chance in recovering the happy old days when times were better for Frau Holm and her three children. Instead Frau Holm has lived a miserable life in where everything she had and loved was destroyed. Herr Sjöström depicts a desperate, hard and moving portrait of a ruined life.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must pay a visit to his aristocratic fostered parents.
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