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In the 1930s, the feeble-minded Sven's mother dies and he is hired as a farm-hand at the rich, affluent Höglund's farm. He has to work without pay and sleeps together with the cows. He meets the disabled Anna who is the first one to treat him as an adult. One day he has had enough of Höglund's maltreatment and moves in with Anna's family. Written by
Director Hans Alfredsson has stated in interviews that Höglund is based on a real person and that the scene where he throws the poor Månssons money into the fireplace on Christmas Eve are based on a real event. See more »
Den Enfaldige Mördaren deserves to be better known. It's a fabulous film directed by Hans Alfredson and stars Stellan Skarsgård in one of his most memorable performances as the hare-lipped young man Sven, who's considered retarded by his surroundings. He seeks consolation and spiritual strength in his faith and visions as his life becomes difficult and tormenting as a worker for the vicious local factory owner Höglund (played by Alfredson himself).
Superbly played out in a slight retrospective manner, the film beholds a major heart. The emotional aspect is big as we witness Sven throughout the film; his childlike manners and his close relation to his guardian angels, the way he gets involved with the girl-next-door, and getting the opportunity to step up and being treated as an adult, receiving weekly salary and learning how to drive a motorcycle. It's a moving journey of a man who everyone around him seems to misunderstand and neglect. These bright and uplifting moments in the film works as a great counterbalance to the darkness it beholds, especially in the character of Höglund - he's first presented to us lurking into the stable where Sven sleeps among the animals, and he speaks violently and shows no affect for Sven, who's just lost his mother. Höglund treats Sven's sister as meat, shows no affection for his wife and kids, and uses gruesome actions to behold power in the local county.
Den Enfaldige Mördaren is packed with symbolism and ideas, and it flows carelessly in place and time (we sense both the Middle Ages and something futuristic, and everything in between) and tells a tale a multi-layered tale, shuffling so many elements of humor, romance, spirituality, society's mangles, vengeance and adventure. It's a film that makes one enthusiastic about European cinema.
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