Beautiful Swedish resistance film brimming over with romantic lyricism and natural beauty
The interesting thing about this film is its political context. It was written in 1941 by Vilhem Moberg and made a film the year after, in the shadows and threats of the Nazi triumphs of the Second World War. Although the war never came to Sweden, this is a Swedish resistance film of great moral force and impact against any tyranny, and if Sweden had been occupied by Germany, this film certainly would have been banned. The cruel tyrant here who expropriates the properties of the poor farmers struggling against the hardships of failed crops and starvation is a German, and he is never exposed. When they are forced into hard labour, one young stubborn farmer refuses to give in and is outlawed. He is in love with the daughter of the elder of the village, and she is cruelly persecuted for loving him and staying faithful to him, by being targeted by means of superstition, accused of witchcraft. It's a cruel primitive and outrageous story, while the film is lifted by an overwhelmingly beautiful cinematography and a very typical Swedish rural folk music score, like something between Sibelius and Prokofiev. It's the music and the cinematography that make this film worth watching as a jewel among resistance film classics, and the message cannot be misunderstood: right will always ultimately prevail.
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