Is man's existence really meaningful and hopeful? As a reply to Ingmar Bergman's Prison (1949), this movie claims that it is. A ring passes between a lot of different people, giving the ...
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The young Dagmar Brink commits suicide. Her belongings are inherited by the resident caretaker in the house she lived in. The caretaker, who never knew her, wonders why and make contact ... See full summary »
Jacob Cotten is a rich banker, quickly approaching his 60th birthday. He is concerned that none of his sons are willing to or able to be in charge of the bank. One is a spoiled parasite ... See full summary »
In this obvious forerunner to Torment (1944), Stig Järrel plays the mentally disturbed Latin teacher Birger Sjögren at Ringsala boarding school. A series of mysterious fires have taken ... See full summary »
Staffan Stolle becomes the sole heir to a rich and noble family when he is just a little boy. Early on he is engaged to be married to a girl he finds he does not love. Instead he flees the ... See full summary »
Millionaire Christer Dahl loses his memory when he is hit in the head by a golf ball. He meets his ex-wife and immediately fall in love with her again. She does not know what to believe, is... See full summary »
While Bertil Lindström works at the Swedish embassy in Paris, his wife Gabrielle spends the summer alone in Sweden. After a phone call to her, he starts to think of all the things she can ... See full summary »
The rich young man Teddy Anker invests his money in the theater in the beginning of the 1920s. Whatever he does becomes a success. He falls in love with a dancer, Karin. He decides to put ... See full summary »
A man comes to Stockholm's central station. He does not know who he is or where he has been. He has some keys and a phone number. Perhaps he is the escaped sex maniac the police are ... See full summary »
Is man's existence really meaningful and hopeful? As a reply to Ingmar Bergman's Prison (1949), this movie claims that it is. A ring passes between a lot of different people, giving the bearer or someone close a new meaning to life. Actors, embezzlers, old ladies and cheated husbands all seem to gain temporary hope from misery and disillusionment. Written by
Questions about the meaning of life seen through a ring
When you look back in time at the Swedish film industry it is easy to reduce it to Ingmar Bergman. Although it is some truth to that, films like "The Girl from the Third Row" shows Sweden was gifted with more than one great director.
In "The Girl from the Third Row" the director Hasse Ekman let two different world-views collide. In the opening scene the lead character Gusten (Sigge Furst) talks, through his own-written play, about how pointless and empty our life on earth really is. He is a kind of existentialist/nihilist character.
After the play Gusten meets a girl (Eva Henning) who watched his play from the third row. She begins to tell a story about a ring which passes from person to person and as they have the ring we get to see a short glimpse of the life these people live and the effect the ring have on their lives. Through the story of the ring and the people in possession of it she tries to convince Gusten that there is meaning, destiny and true emotions in life. Gusten is not so easy to convince though.
The two positions that collide in "The Girl from the Third Row" is quite black and white. Either life is empty, shallow and without any meaning or life has set a destiny for us all and life is full of love if we just have the courage to embrace it. With that said there is a lot of scenes and subtle details which make the lines less clear and throws other questions at the viewer.
As you should have figured out now if you read this far this isn't a film for everyone. A previous reviewer found it pretty boring and I can fully understand that you find it boring if you don't understand what the film is about. If you have asked yourself questions about the meaning of life, destiny, read a little philosophy or something like that, then I think you will enjoy this film.
I ranked it an eight in the end. I took one star off because I found the two world-views a bit to black and white and another one because I simply don't agree with the director's point of view. :)
In the end, I highly recommend it!
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