15 February 2015 | OJT
Epic tale of a woman surviving famine in 1600's Norway
An-Magritt is based upon the historical novel by the same name by Johan Falkberget and is acclaimed Norwegian film maker Arne Skouen's 17th and last movie.
We're taken back to the 1600's poor and cold rural mountain Norway in winter time, where An-Magritt tries to survive. She was born after a rape, and her mother killed herself after being put out for shame outside the church door for three church services. Treated like a criminal, she no longer could bear her shame. An-Magritt (really Ane Margrete, but given a call-name by the villagers) is brought up by her grand parents, and lives up to be a strong young woman, a very strong and obsessive woman, which has to do mens' work to survive. She manages the tradition that happened to her mother is stopped by approaching the minister, and unlike most people she can read, which makes her standing all the better.
An-Magritt is amazingly played by Liv Ullmann, that is. We are seeing a Norway where the poverty was so wast that the church people go to is without any heating, and where the fight for food and against the heavily laid taxes. The hard everyday life takes it's toll on everyone, but she falls in love with a German smith, Johannes, working in the village.
This film was greatly misunderstood when it was released, being gloomy and bleak. Maybe people weren't ready for bleak middle age dramas back then, and neither was I when I saw the film as a teenager back 30 years ago. But re-watching this now in 2015, makes me rise my IMDb-rating from 5 to 6.
The film is great in remastered version, in a newly released DVD-box with 16 of the 17 films of Arne Skouen, in an 100 years anniversary for his birth. The picture is clear and bright, with the bleak colors and 1600's feel to it kept well. The film has a good portion of humor as well. That is very suitable. The environment, as well as the settings, the housing and everything is well done. No faults to be seen. On the lesser side I think the orchestral music too intense, and maybe too high in the mix for my taste. Especially in the dramatic scenes. I think the film would do just as well, or better with the nature's own sounds.
Despite what you would think due to the low rating here on IMDb, this is a good film, and a interesting film in Skouen's filmography. I think this film is well worth a watch. I was quite mesmerized by Liv Ullmann's acting.