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En film om Olle Ljungström (2009)

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Cast overview:
Olle Ljungström ...
Olle Ljungström
Jacob Frössén ...
Jacob Frössén
Misse Ljungström ...
Misse Ljungström
Heinz Liljedahl ...
Heinz Liljedahl
...
Dan Sundquist
Eddie Sjöberg ...
Eddie Sjöberg
Jan Kyhle ...
Jan Kyhle
Peter Korhonen ...
Peter Korhonen
Torsten Larsson ...
Torsten Larsson
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Bland vissa är jag gud, för andra bara oljud.

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Documentary

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Release Date:

23 January 2009 (Sweden)  »

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SEK 550,000 (estimated)
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(Dolby 2.0)

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(PAL)
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User Reviews

Often saddening, but that is not all
8 September 2009 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

It feels somewhat awkward to write a text about Olle Ljungström in English, as few outside of Sweden are familiar with the man. However, it may be argued that this makes it all the more justifying to put up a review of the recent film EN FILM OM OLLE LJUNGSTRÖM – "A Film About Olle Ljungström" – on this site; singer-songwriter Ljungström may sing in Swedish, and the lyrics he writes are certainly an experience in themselves, but no less am I convinced that the songs can also display a strong impact on listeners unable to understand their direct tidings. This has partly to do with the brilliant music that accompanies them, but also with the fact that there are rarely any direct tidings to talk about; like many another great songwriter, Ljungström is more about emotion and rhythm than consistency, whose words will affect you on different levels from one time to another. This is one of his greatest strenghts, in my opinion; I can listen to his song "Tysk Indian" (direct translation "German Indian," in case you wondered) both through times of sorrow and times of happiness, and in both circumstances feel total satisfaction in context to my mood.

When this film was finally released in January this year, first in theaters and later on the tube, debut director Jacob Frössén had spent nearly three years filming Ljungström, who on his part is reported to have given the director permission to "film everything but my toilet visits." Whether this was followed up or not, what in any case remains is a very frank, very personal portrayal of this very talented man, who sadly has underwent some rather troublesome periods. A good amount of time is spent on this aspect of his life; one might even describe it as the major theme. Ljungström openly discusses several of his disappointments, and furthermore how these have affected his onlook on the world. In the process, he reveals to possess an often astonishing degree of insight regarding questions which many of us find difficult to encounter, as he talks about his feelings of death, depression, and serious illness. An often-repeated quotation from the film sounds (as translated): "…To have all you desire, and not be able to enjoy it."

Ljungström appears to be far from happy during several sessions, and I'll admit that I found it difficult to witness his condition at times. At the same time, however, I must also admit that it slightly bothers me how virtually every review I have read of this film is totally obsessed with the depressed Ljungström, and thus unable to recognize that the film, in fact, shows us more than one aspect of the man. We do also get to see a reunion among the members of Reeperbahn, the band in which Ljungström began his career thirty years ago and whose contributions to Swedish rock music few other bands can equal. The meeting appears informal and pleasant, with Olle singing some of their old hits while playing the guitar; it is especially fascinating to see this reunion in context to the various photographs which are shown of the band performing way back in the 80's, in which a very young, very charismatic Ljungström is clearly the major star. Just as rewarding is it to see excerpts of Ljungström's performances from the 90's, now as a solo artist, as well as a couple of music videos, in which he captures audiences with classics such as "Norrländska Präriens Gudinna." Towards the end of the film, we get to see a meeting between Ljungström and his new producer discussing his then upcoming seventh album, as well as fragments of Olle restoring his newly-bought house in the country. I leave the screening hall with a picture of Olle as a man whose life, no doubt, has not been idyllic, but whose great musical talent, sense of humor and self-insight should not be overlooked for that reason. He's a fighter, and he's fighting. His seventh album was released just a couple of months after this film was released to generally superb reviews, and he's made several successful performances this year. I hope (and believe!!) that he'll soon be back with another album.

From a technical viewpoint, the film is generally slick, sometimes cleverly interacting various interviews, photographs and soundtracks within one another. One thing to be aware of, though, is that this is really more of a portrayal than a biography, which means that, although it may not be totally required for, I'd assume it to be more enjoyable if the viewer knows a bit of Ljungström's history on beforehand. To put it briefly: Ljungström was born in 1961, represented the front-figure of Reeperbahn 1979-84, then took a break from music before returning as a solo performer in 1992 (although usually working in close collaboration with composer and friend Heinz Liljedahl). To date he has produced seven albums on his own, and is widely praised as one of the most original and talented songwriters in Sweden. This film is currently available on DVD, in (naturally) Swedish language and with no subtitles.


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