Josefin is a six year old girl who lives isolated in the countryside, where her father is a priest. She has no friends until she meets Hugo. He is a carefree boy who rather walk in the ... See full summary »
Josefin is a six year old girl who lives isolated in the countryside, where her father is a priest. She has no friends until she meets Hugo. He is a carefree boy who rather walk in the forest than goes to school. Together with the gardener they make up fun things to do. Written by
A warm tale of what could be for children, and what could have been for adults.
I saw this at a cinémathèque in Paris in 1969, where it was followed by a discussion with the director. It is a film whose good feelings remain with me even more than 30 years later,
Hugo is a young boy who lives alone and has pretty well raised himself. Josefin is the daughter of the local preacher. Her mother had years before chosen the stable but dull life with the preacher over the exciting but insecure life with the gardener. The gardener returns each summer to practise his trade and fund the adventures he will have in the rest of the year. In the year of the film he befriends the children, and puts excitement in their summer. Although the mother is solid with her prior choice, (there is no question of a revived affair.) she sees a similar dilemma being arranged for her daughter.
The climax of the movie comes when the gardener's summer has ended and he must take his leave, much to the displeasure of the children. He is loath to face them to say good-bye, and tries to leave unnoticed. The children give chase, Hugo by riding his old-fashioned bicycle with the oversized front wheel. When a chair falls from the gardener's truck he must stop to retrieve it, only to find Josefin on the chair with Hugo standing beside her. There follows one of the most delightful dinner scenes on film in which the gardener's furniture is unloaded on the middle of the road, and the dinner proceeds as if they were all at home. At one point in the dinner each of them must take a whole hardboiled egg into his mouth at once to eat. The director announced that Josefin was not told about this before the actual take. The result is wholesome laughter. Ultimately the gardener indeed must leave, and he does so while the children and his furniture remain on the road. He reacts to his own tears by turning on the windshield wipers.
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