The hard life of a single mother and her daughter in a small fishing community in Iceland with heart-rending love stories
Halldór Killian Laxness' (birthday today, the only Nobel prize winner in literature of Iceland,) great novel of Iceland in the 20s was originally on purpose written in English to make it sell and to make it a film. The film wasn't made until after 25 years and in Sweden, but then became a unique lyrical-expressionistic masterpiece and Arne Mattsson's best film, tragically underrated, with above all a heart-breaking performance by Margareta Krook as the mother, but all the actors are outstanding: Birgitta Pettersson as the young Salka, Folke Sundquist as her one great love of a lifetime who constantly fails her, Erik Strandmark as the scoundrel abusing everyone and making money on it, a fantastic portrait of a reckless adventurer who means no harm and can't understand all the harm he is causing, although his progress is devastating to almost everyone, Sigge Fürst as the Salvation Army Captain, the one who understands something of the tragedy and becomes victim of it himself, Gunnel Broström as the hard-boiled, mature Salka who still has a bleeding heart, and many others. Special credit to the fantastic photo of Sven Nykvist with constant close-ups of striking intimacy and breath-taking landscape scenes of the wilderness of Iceland, and the overwhelmingly beautiful music by Sven Sköld, perfectly fitted to the overwhelmingly poetical imagery of the authentic landscapes of Iceland and the heart-breaking story, completing the very Nordic sentiment of the whole epic and driving its melancholy almost to unbearable sadness and nostalgia. This is Scandinavian neo-realism at its best, made in the same vein as Ingmar Bergman's "Sawdust and Tinsel" ("Gycklarnas aft on").
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