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Flickan från tredje raden (1949)
Questions about the meaning of life seen through a ring
When you look back in time at the Swedish film industry it is easy to reduce it to Ingmar Bergman. Although it is some truth to that, films like "The Girl from the Third Row" shows Sweden was gifted with more than one great director.
In "The Girl from the Third Row" the director Hasse Ekman let two different world-views collide. In the opening scene the lead character Gusten (Sigge Furst) talks, through his own-written play, about how pointless and empty our life on earth really is. He is a kind of existentialist/nihilist character.
After the play Gusten meets a girl (Eva Henning) who watched his play from the third row. She begins to tell a story about a ring which passes from person to person and as they have the ring we get to see a short glimpse of the life these people live and the effect the ring have on their lives. Through the story of the ring and the people in possession of it she tries to convince Gusten that there is meaning, destiny and true emotions in life. Gusten is not so easy to convince though.
The two positions that collide in "The Girl from the Third Row" is quite black and white. Either life is empty, shallow and without any meaning or life has set a destiny for us all and life is full of love if we just have the courage to embrace it. With that said there is a lot of scenes and subtle details which make the lines less clear and throws other questions at the viewer.
As you should have figured out now if you read this far this isn't a film for everyone. A previous reviewer found it pretty boring and I can fully understand that you find it boring if you don't understand what the film is about. If you have asked yourself questions about the meaning of life, destiny, read a little philosophy or something like that, then I think you will enjoy this film.
I ranked it an eight in the end. I took one star off because I found the two world-views a bit to black and white and another one because I simply don't agree with the director's point of view. :)
In the end, I highly recommend it!
The Other Gods (2006)
Really weak in story, pretty good animation
At a vote of three you probably expect me to hate this little short flick, but I don't. It's not an awful effort, but there are areas I would say is very lacking.
Right at the start of the film a myth is created around this movie. It is stated that the movie is originally made in 1924. A nice touch, were it not for the fact that the film doesn't look aged whatsoever. They made a try to make it look old, but it is just to smooth in the edges for anyone who has seen an old movie to fall for it. Not even close.
The story is very, very thin. What they really got from Lovecroft is some names any reader of Lovecroft will recognize. But other than the names fans of Lovecroft won't get much out of the story and people who haven't read Lovecroft should just stay away from this flick.
The animation is simplistic, which of course is pretty forced since with the story about how this movie was made in '24 demands. As said, the animation is far from convincing anyone that it is that old, but it has a very nice style to it which brings it rating up from a two to a three from me. The characters is cut to their internal states. The innocent boy has the innocent face, or rather profile, and the arrogant older man has a clearly more "evil" face. And though I usually don't like these kinds of stereotypes in movies, it works here, and fits well in with how the movies I seen from the '20:s was made also.
My end recommendation; there's no need to go out searching for this short film if you are not a true die-hard-hard Lovecraftfan who needs to see everything Lovecraftrelated. But if you, as a reader of Lovecraft falls over it, give it a try, it is after all just five minutes of your life.