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Malmö, Sweden during the Second World War. Stig is a 15 year old pupil on the verge of adulthood. Viola is 37 years old and his teacher. He is attracted by her beauty and maturity. She is drawn to him by his youth and innocence, a god-sent relief from her drunk and miserable husband. They start a passionate and forbidden relationship - but it has consequences they never could have expected. Written by
Mattias Pettersson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Coming of Age Tale for the Characters and the World
ALL THINGS FAIR (Lust och fägring stor) turned out to be brilliant Swedish writer/director Bo Widerberg's elegy: after a long history of successful and emotionally captivating films, this film was his last. Watching again some twelve years later gives an entirely different level of appreciation for Widerberg's work. This is a little jewel of a film explores human sexuality at the time of puberty and the enormous impact on the way relationships are viewed, while at the same time it presents a keen insight to the world at war and the equally monstrous side effects in myriad ways.
Malmö, Sweden, 1943. A highschool class of boys is discovering the mysteries of body changes and all-consuming effects puberty has one young teenage men. Outside the classroom World War II threatens and inside the classroom puberty threatens. 15 year old Stig (Johan Widerberg) is a handsome, curious lad from a poor family who discovers his first female attraction in the form of his new 37 year old teacher Viola (Marika Lagercrantz), who, despite the impropriety of the situation added to the fact that she is married to a traveling salesman Kjell (Tomas von Brömssen) who spends his idle hours drinking and listening to classical music in the kitchen, returns the seductive dance and soon the two are in a physically involved affair. The beauty and fresh novelty of their feelings is captured in the most magical way with little dialog, many embarrassed glances, and significant risks that eventually include Kjell's discovery of their trysts. But as the two are discovered many changes occur: Stig's beloved soldier brother Sigge (Björn Kjellman) finally goes off to submarine warfare, Viola becomes less involved and senses the problem she has created, Stig falls under the spell of the tragic Kjell learning music and more from this pathetic man, and Stig finally must face the realities of more proper attraction to Lisbet (Karin Huldt) a girl his own age.
The actors are superb, the settings are atmospheric, and the era of the 1940s Sweden is perfectly represented. Part of the joy of the film is the musical score that varies from a Handel aria during moments love making, to Brahms' 'Ein Deutsches Requiem', to Mahler's 5th Symphony 'Adagietto', to Beethoven's 'Grosse Fugue.' Widerberg makes it all work in a misty yet sensuous manner. It is a film to own and one to watch often. In Swedish with English subtitles. Grady Harp
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