The historical and political background to "Kejsaren" is the Swedish import of foreign polish farm labor in the early 1900s. The Swedish farm workers protested against this, with hate and racism. Elje Ström is the son of a Swedish farm worker and a polish woman. He is mentally handicapped and bullied, longing for his mother, who was returned to Poland. Nazism is spreading over northern Europe. Elje travels to Poland to find his mother. Scammed by pimps and whores, beaten and despised, he is returned to Sweden by the police. He is admitted to S:t Lars mental hospital, Lund/Malmö. Here, at S:t Lars, Elje becomes "Kejsaren", partly influenced by Hitler. He meets with love and understanding from a polish orderly. She looks and feels a lot like his mother. In a fit of psychotic madness, he kills the orderly. Written by
Ulf Kjell Gür
Painter and poet Jösta Hagelbäck takes on Birgitta Trotzigs novel "Sjukdomen" (The Disease). A true challenge. This is Jöstas debut as a filmmaker. "Kejsaren" is a minor masterpiece of kleinkunst, a fresco brought to life by a dynamic and hardworking ensemble and production team. Anders Åberg's interpretation of Elje "Jesaja" Ström, is remarkable, bold and unforgettable. "Kejsaren" tells the story of a mentally handicapped and bullied young man. Loved by his father. Longing for his mother. Living in the south of Sweden. Farm country. Working the fields. I find this unique fresco of film related in spirit and passion to the works of Herzog, Fassbinder, Bergman and Pasolini. Perhaps even Conrad Rooks "Chappaqua". Jösta Hagelbäck never came close to this cornerstone of Swedish cinema.
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