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Olof lives alone on his family's farm after the death of his mother. Unable to read and write, he is dependent on his younger friend, Erik, who helps him in the afternoons. Once a sailor, Erik brags of having known hundreds of women. Out of the blue, Olof advertises in the local paper for a young lady housekeeper, and Ellen, a middle-class city woman, arrives to take over the house and, as the summer goes on, Olof's heart and Erik's desire as well. Written by
L.H. Wong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The SO brought this one home, having found it in the 'new releases' section. I remember hearing about it six years ago, but was in the UK at the time and never saw it.
Nutley took the Swedish spirit and gave it back to the people early on with short 'stilleben' shoots of Stockholm and its people and made an impression. 'House of Angels' (or whatever it's called in the English language version) was his first major film in Sweden and one of the biggest box offices ever.
The rental we had preserved the wide screen, which is absolutely essential in this context. Nutley has a knack for finding pastorals which are incredible, and Swedes really suck this up. The images themselves are so stunning and evocative to the local populace that this in itself is enough soul candy.
Nutley is of course together with his perennial leading lady today, and they have two or three children together, and in a clumsy event she was voted best Swedish actress of all time, ahead of Bergman and Garbo, but there is no discounting her talent or on-screen presence. Beautiful in a flawless way she may not be, but her on-screen charisma and meticulous acting are impressive.
Simple story? Yes, perhaps, but it's not only the plot you come to watch: it's the pictures themselves. Why watch Olof chop wood when you can film him from inside the house and show a bit of the window frame at the same time? Some of the pictures are so carefully laid out it's fantastic.
And the story itself: with acting this good, and with directing this good, you're going to find yourself moved and watery-eyed at the end no matter what.
I was surprised to find this movie won and was nominated for so many awards. I remember at the time critics in Sweden panning it. But I must have got this wrong. 'Under Solen' is a tour de force, a work of art, by a Brit who has captured the soul and spirit of Sweden like few others. A 'must see'.
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