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A group of people arrives by boat to attend a party on a small island. They experience great difficulties while trying to go ashore. All the alcohol for the party is on the boat while the people on the island have all the food, and the only neighbor on the island, Garbo, is not as friendly as one would wish. —Arne Andersson <email@example.com>
I just saw this on UK Netflix, who for some reason are at present showing seemingly hundreds of Swedish films. Many of these are brilliant - and completely unknown in Britain. Ingmar Bergman is well-known in Britain, but he is not noticed by Netflix. This strange and deliriously funny film is so unknown it jumps up like a jack-in-the-box. The old ones are the best ones but this is firmly trapped in the 60's - but a surreally Swedish 60's. It's so old it plays like the latest thing. This reductively-ridiculous disaster-comedy deconstructs - or simply destroys - everything, in an epic of slapstick-horror. Viking humour dies - laughing uncontrollably - while mucking about in boats. A message-in-a-bottle from someone else's past that we've just got - what a joke! I just spent an evening in front of the TV stream chuckling to myself like a crazy person as this castaway comedy washed up in the wrong country for any rescue, and couldn't help myself from 'falling in the water' (Hello! Spike) and drowning in tears of laughter at this nostalgia for the sheer isolated lunacy of a once would-be-trendy Sweden. If we'd ever known you Vikings were so splendidly silly we wouldn't have given you such a bad press as you were raping and pillaging us into admiration for the depressing and guilt-ridden Mr. Bergman. If you'd tried to sell us 'Et angora en brygga' instead of unloading your angst on our shores we might have loved you more - or at least made allowances for you as total idiots, madly incapable of harming anyone but yourselves. And if only you had mastered the art of incompetent comedy sailing all those years ago we Brits would by now all have been speaking Viking as fluently - or at least as flob-a-dobally (thank-you Flower-Pot Men!) - as Alfredson's fisherman, Garbo. Such eloquent nonsense! Such self-annihilating humour! Such unpretentious pratfalls! Such helpless laughter in the face of life's little epics of comprehensive folly and disaster! Such triumphant merriment in the throes of ruin! Its a world of pain and disappointment masochistically enjoying the horror of it all with complete abandon and utter disregardo for the historic hangover. You Swedes are lovable failures, just like us Brits are learning how to be. And don't worry that you failed hopelessly to capture the zeitgeist of the Swinging Sixties, because to be honest most of us missed it in Britain as well: looking back on these once-fashionable ideals they do seem universally relevant as utter folly. As heroic Sunday-sailors you swashbuckling crayfish-murdering Swedes really do wear the women's trousers at home, as you desperately party as only angst-ridden recovering suicides can. The entire film is one seamlessly continuous perfect storm of laughter in which people are reduced to the helpless puppets of a hopelessly entangled puppeteer. I've never seen things not working out so well worked-out. A brilliant and sadly overlooked comedy. 8 stars for me. And I'm not even Swedish. It's a good job Garbo talks fluent gibberish.
- Mar 18, 2021
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