Malmö, Sweden during the Second World War. Stig is a 15 year old pupil on the verge of adulthood. Viola is 37 years old and his teacher. He is attracted by her beauty and maturity. She is ...
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18-year old Christian has just graduated from high school. At his summer job he is seduced by the 36-year old single mother Sanne. Soon he is drawn into a world of sensuality and his ... See full summary »
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Robert M. Young
Edward James Olmos,
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Following his manifesto for a new Swedish cinema, director Widerberg started his career with this realist tale of young woman, Britt, who has two flings, but finds herself with difficult decisions when she finds herself pregnant.
Malmö, Sweden during the Second World War. Stig is a 15 year old pupil on the verge of adulthood. Viola is 37 years old and his teacher. He is attracted by her beauty and maturity. She is drawn to him by his youth and innocence, a god-sent relief from her drunk and miserable husband. They start a passionate and forbidden relationship - but it has consequences they never could have expected.Written by
Mattias Pettersson <email@example.com>
It took six years of screen-writing for Bo Widerberg before production started. The project was announced in 1988, but because of the lack of co-financiers, besides the Swedish Film Institute, it was postponed till 1994. See more »
This was to be director Widerberg's last movie. A sweet family farewell, since his son played the lead in it. What his last words may be, as expressed in this movie, though, is hard to say. There is no clear moral in it, for which I am thankful, but a somewhat distressing observation about love: it is a close neighbor to hate, and it will not leave without vengeance.
The love affair between the school teacher and the teenage student is interesting when it starts to break up, but its beginning is too swiftly dealt with to make any sense, and its joyous, lustful phase is without depth. Only when things go awry, does the story get interesting, and the actors get to excel in their art.
The title is from a psalm, which is traditionally sung by students when they leave school for the summer break - or for good. It's a hymn to the summer and its luscious splendor - therefore, a lust of another kind, than the carnal one the movie deals with. Some Widerberg irony, no doubt.
Using his son as the student in the movie, was not that good an idea, although Johan Widerberg has a rare charisma on screen, and his own odd talent in acting. His father seems not to have been able to treat his son with the same merciless exploitation, as he was quite apt to do with other actors. So, the student is left hanging in a kind of vacuum, as if empty of his own intentions and conflicts. Things happen to him, as if he had nothing to do with them.
In this type of drama, it is important that the characters are stripped naked - well, mainly their souls, but bodies too, if need be. Widerberg manages the latter with his son, briefly, but not at all the former. When wanting to protect his son, he actually abandons him - for no other reason than the inhibitions in his own fatherhood. Johan, on the other hand, seems to be prepared to do any sacrifice necessary, to make the movie work.
I could be wrong. But the impression remains: the student's story never really gets to be told, because he is not allowed to be present, completely.
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