Very interesting from a Scandinavian point of view
Earlier this year I just happened to come across this documentary on Swedish television (I think it was a re-run) and it immediately caught my interest.
It tells the story of writer/producer/director Olle Hellbom, a man that - considering the influence he had and continues to have on countless children growing up in the Scandinavian countries - was really not that well known, at least not outside his native Sweden. Hellbom created several movies through the years (including the 1959 Swedish turkey "Raggare"!) but what really carved his name into the annals of movie history was his decades-long co-operation with Astrid Lindgren, perhaps the greatest children's book author in modern times. Sadly "Pippi Longstocking" is about the only Lindgren-book really known in the English-speaking world but in countries like Germany and Russia she is WELL known, and in Norway and Sweden she was almost like a surrogate mother. It was a sad week when she passed away in 2002, at the ripe age of 94.
Hellbom himself passed away much to early and it's almost a shame it took twenty years for someone to actually create an homage to such an influence in the Swedish film industry (and when they first did it was his own son who made it). "Ollebom" adds nothing new to the genre of documentaries but for Scandinavian film-lovers it offers truly wonderful insight into one of the great unsung heroes of the Scandinavian film industry, riddled with interviews of people he worked with. It is especially fun to see all the child actors from the 1960's and 70's now adults talking about the experiences on the set of a Hellbom production. Hellbom wasn't the greatest filmmaker, there were very rarely any original touches in is movies storywise or technically (he was extremely faitfull to Lindgren's original and brilliant writings) but he still managed to make them all burst of color and smell of childhood summers and the sweet innocence of youth - very much in touch with Lindgren's writings - and he had a way with child actors that were quite unique. Among his finest films are undoubtedly the dramatization of Lindgren's "Vi på Saltkråkan", "Pippi Långstrump", "Emil i Lönneberga" and "Bröderna Lejonhärta".
As documentaries go this is very by-the-numbers, but from a Scandinavian aspect also very interesting.
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