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  • There's something about this film that hits you - something between the frames and apart from what you see. Even though it's almost 40 years old it feels like it was shot yesterday (especially with the crisp DVD I saw). Having watched a few of these Swedish teenage films, I have to say nobody knows how to portray adolescence on screen like the Swedes do. There's a subtle, real-life touch that no filmmaker in the states can hold a candle to.

    The two leads are very natural and engaging. Ann-Sofie Kylin has the biggest blue eyes you will ever see and makes a huge impact - despite the fact that her lines throughout the film barely register one paragraph.

    If you can appreciate a slow film that pays more attention to the small details than to a chugging storyline, this is for you. While I found the ending a little unresolved even for a typical unresolved "70's" ending, it's worth the two hour viewing.
  • frida_sjoborg5 October 2004
    this is a portrayal of the trembling, slightly insecure first love so many recognize from their teenage years. en kärlekshistoria= a love story. but apart from the main plot, it's also about the young couple's parents, adults who are dealing with accepting that dreams don't come true. the story's set in the summer of 1970 in Stockholm, Sweden.

    I've read the other comments and I must say I'm surprised. I don't know if the fact that I as a Swede can recognize and relate to some key ingredients in the setting, imagery and socializing, but the movie's won my heart (and so many others). my opinion is that the story about annika and per's strong affection for each other can't be witnessed without touching the viewers. it feels so genuine, maybe considering there's not many movies that focus on young love in this pure way. the young couple engage you so much that you feel like the side-line plots aren't necessary to make this film a whole. though it gives a feeling of reality, of a view into these people's lives as both families and as individuals. but I must say, the admirable interpretation of this rare angle of a love story is enough reason to make this movie a must-see.
  • This film, as I see it, is a slightly absurd view of the world through the selective gaze of two young persons in love. Although this film is far more realistic that the later films by Roy Andersson, it still has an absurd feeling, especially in the final part, but also before. But as a young person this was, at least for me, the way the surrounding appeared to be. You saw things, heard things, people cried and did things for reasons which you did not fully grasped or cared about. The unhealthiness of your family and every-day had become like a too well-known background noise which you only got aware of later in life. Therefore, all the partially touched-upon subjects in this film which never are fully resolved or explained are a strength not a weakness, I think.

    The film is also political. The class society in welfare Sweden is shown. It is not the upper-class vs. servant class, but rather it is the "quest" for prestige of the every-day among working and middle class that is portrayed, and always in a subtle but critical tone. But all this is through the selective gaze of the two young persons in love, hence never is the film becoming dogmatic in its political sense.

    A very good film, also with a beautiful photo. As a portrait of society this film is excellent. And please, don't confuse it with Ingmar Bergman's films. They are good in some respects, but this one is more "Swedish" than Bergman ever gets.
  • I have seen quite a lot of movies, all genres, all ages, but no one comes even close to touching my romantic side as much as this one. I had never heard of the film or director when I was about to watch the film at the local film enthusiast club, but I, as well as everyone else around me it seemed, wanted to know more after having seen this. Quite simply the sweetest, most natural projection of true young love on film. Ever.
  • This is a great little film, describing two teenagers first love experience. It really hits the spot, showing Sweden as it was in the 1970s, complete with dull apartments, the very tough moped gang and, of course, the summer party in the country house. Above all, it shows the joy and agony of teenagers being in love. It´s very easy to relate to the attraction that Per and Annika feels for each other and their shy, clumsy efforts to get together. Anyone who has been a teenager, and most of us have, is reminded of those wonderful years. This is how it really was!
  • Holy Moly! Watching this movie was like a little nostalgia trip even if you're not from Sweden. The photography is delightful and the film has a very naturally flowing pace giving you the feeling that you've really stepped backwards in time! I thought that the acting was also very modern. I couldn't completely relate to the 'humour', which is very subtle and a bit alien to me but it also didn't get in the way or take away from the main theme threading the film. While watching the main plot unfold - the story of first love between two adolescents - the social climate of that time in Sweden is very strongly conveyed in a continuous backdrop of this film. I got the impression that this movie was really 20 years ahead of its time all round. If the exact same film had been made now (almost, if not impossible, me thinks) it would still be a great success. Maximum Respect!
  • Uneken22 March 2009
    Beautiful film! I saw it on DVD from Lovefilm in Norway. The DVD has directors comments as well. Roy Andersson speaks about how for him the most important aspect of the film is the world of the parents, the difference in social class of both families. This is certainly valid. But what hits you in the stomach, especially if you were young in those days, is the "deja-vu" of the relation between Pär & Annika and the way that developing relation is portrayed here. I thought it was a recently made film at first (had not looked at all at what sort of film it was) and thought: "Wow, where did they get all these authentic 60's cars???" The film has a very melancholic taste to it, for me at least, born in 1954. And Ann-Sofie Kylin would have absolutely been a girl I would have totally fallen in love with. The film is funny too at times, like when Pärs' macho moped gets overtaken by a bicycle rider, eating an ice-cream. Lovely film, just lovely!
  • It's been a while since I attended a World Cinema Series screening at the National Museum, and this 1970 film by Roy Andersson, making his feature film debut with A Swedish Love Story, was an opportunity to head back to soak in yet another important film in the history of cinema, and a film that perhaps is making its premiere in Singapore as well. Presented by Ben Slater, he managed to confirm with a Swedish member of the audience that En k ‰rlekshistoria means just that in English, something which I thought probably would have translated to something more sophisticated rather than to seem as if it's differentiating itself from the Ryan O'Neal-Ali McGraw American romance movie Love Story.

    And sophisticated this film may not be at all, on the surface at least. Being a film made in the past, there was this scene that brought back some nostalgia and giggles from the audience for what we would now take for granted, with the proliferation of digital technology in photographic cameras. In an instant we can take a picture with our loved ones as easy as 1-2-3. Back then when a camera still requires film, focus, and plenty of patience to frame your subject, the icing on the cake was the lack of a timer and auto-shutter, relying on a stick long enough to click a picture for posterity.

    This romantic tale follows teenagers Annika (Ann-Sofie Kylin) and Par (Rolf Sohlman) from courtship to the consummation of a young relationship. Like all great romances, they meet by chance in their respective family outings, before actively pursuing each other through the games people usually play. One thing's for sure, that basic human attachment and attraction for another follows a relatively set path, and these young lovers have their fair share of ups and downs, passionate expressions of love and passive tiffs. Andersson had succinctly captured the exhilaration of such passion, that probably wouldn't even begin due to their shyness and initial reluctance, relying on proxies to help each other communicate.

    Some standard "practices" (if I may), like the visiting of each other's parents, also got into the narrative, and will likely strike a chord with many viewers. As will the way the teenagers are decked out with their bikes and leather jackets, which initially I felt leapt right out of the musical Grease (made much later of course). There were plenty of smoking as well which I can't help but notice - I think almost every character here lights up at some point - where cigarettes and booze seem to be the norm for the teenagers seeking a good time.

    I felt Ann-Sofie Kylin probably got an easier role as compared to Rolf Sohlman as her opposite. Hers somehow got stuck to a single minded pining for a guy who for some reason is terribly attractive to her, never mind that Andersson had made him somewhat of a wimp, being unable to stand up to a bigger sized bully. That arc though mysteriously disappeared other than eliciting a one-line from Pär to want to seek revenge, probably because the message here is of love and not war, even at the expense of not being able to redeem some face back when being out-slapped in the playing fields in full view of his peers.

    The film was nicely bookend by the involvement of family. At the beginning, we see how the families, then strangers, had one party visibly and audibly perturbed by the other's barking dog. But that didn't turn out to be Romeo and Juliet feuding proportions of course, and Fate has this wicked sense of humour to allow both families to come together again, this time over a party atmosphere thanks to the friendship of the teenage lovers. There's a healthy dose of cynical humour in the last act, which stood out because it was rather out of place, given everything else up until then not infused with similar comedy.

    Not all's fine and dandy too, as there were ample moments throughout the film, and especially the end (where it seemed everything got squeezed together) where there was a sudden outburst of frustrations, as if being the mouthpiece of the director echoing some sentiments felt, from being a lowly employee, to class division, and earlier on in the film, even the brand of a car received a swipe.

    A Swedish Love Story retains its romantic angle for the most parts, which took a backseat really in the last act after they have more or less firmed their relationship, giving way to a shift in focus to family members on both sides. With excellent landscapes and beautifully crafted scenes (I love that bike ride in the twilight), it goes to show that Love as a human condition and theme for a film well made will resonate amongst audiences, regardless of time and location.
  • This is not really a teenager-movie, although some would describe it as such. The main story is about two teenagers falling in love, correct, but that is only the shell. The story inside the shell is the one of the parents with their lost dreams and locked positions. The imagery is truly beautiful(the famous Serojoska-scene stands out) and the film also features Björn Isfält`s first venture into composing for the movies. Den Vackre and The Bertil Theme are particularly beautiful. Sadly this film, Roy Anderssons in my opinion finest one, is not available on video.
  • this is an absolutely romantic movie with a great feel of falling in love with great pictures and fantastic music. i have seen this movie as a child in the 70's and was so impressed that i've been trying for years now to get a copy, but i did not get it anywhere. i am glad that i found this place here to talk about this movie with other people because at my people nobody knows it and nobody has seen it and so i take the chance to ask: can anybody help me to get this movie in German language or tell me how i could try? i already talked and mailed to the TV stations who had this movie in their program but as i mentioned before i got no results...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    En kärlekshistoria (A Love Story) is very much better than anything I have read about it would lead me to expect, and the reason it is so much better is something many who otherwise love the movie criticize it for: that it is NOT just a love story. It is NOT just about the two ethereally innocent and lovely pubescent lovers but about the ugly adults who surround them.

    If this movie HAD been only about Pär and Annika, it would indeed have been an extraordinary and breathtakingly beautiful love story, and it would have fulfilled the promise of its title and the hopes of very many viewers. But it is a Roy Andersson movie, and even as a fresh-out-of-school twenty-something making his very first feature-length movie, his genius for cutting through illusion to the hardness under the surface of life was fully in evidence.

    Those who see En kärlekshistoria as being radically different from his recent movies - Songs from the Second Floor and You, The Living - and even from Giliap, made only a few years after En kärlekshistoria, are wearing blinders, choosing to see only the loveliness on its surface and denying the hard reality under and all around the loveliness.

    ALL of Andersson's movies are like this one. ALL of them are beautiful on one level and devastatingly harsh on another. That is what makes him such an extraordinary movie-maker and his movies so extraordinarily rewarding to watch. Without the hardness under the surface, the beauty on the surface would be empty and of only minimal, temporary value. It might entertain and delight us, but it would not teach us anything about our own world or change us in any way. We would have been made to feel good for a few minutes, but we would not have gotten anything of lasting value from the experience.

    So the ugly adults HAVE to be in this Love Story, because without them this is nothing but a daydream, a fleeting glimpse into the world of young love, a world that is open to us for only a few months as we are making the astounding transition from childhood, like butterflies emerging unsteadily from our cocoons. That innocent, pure and lovely love is not available to adults, or even to adolescents. Once the cocoon has been sloughed and the wings dried and warmed, the butterfly flies off into its "real" life, and our fragile, emerging innocence is gone forever.

    The adults in En kärlekshistoria give its love story the context it needs, call our attention to and accentuate its purity and loveliness, and show us how transient that loveliness is. The point (only one of many) Andersson is making (and we do not want to see) is that Pär and Annika are going to turn out to be just like their parents and other relatives: hard, selfish, stupid, abusive, and ugly. They cannot turn out any other way, because - like it or not - that is how we adults are.

    By showing us what Pär and Annika will be like in just a very few months (the bully who beat up Pär is only slightly older but already like the adults), Andersson gives us an invaluable frame for the lovely snapshot he took of them at their loveliest. That moment, that loveliness, is just as real as and certainly more pleasant to look at than the other, adult reality, but the two sharply contrasting realities need each other to make life tolerable. That contrast is what makes En kärlekshistoria a work of genius and power, much more than just a sweet but vapid story of young love.
  • Swedish auteur Roy Andersson's feature debut at the age of 27, who has only made 5 films so far (mainly due to a 25-year hiatus from 1975-2000 of directing feature film, he has made many shorts though during the spell), his latest work A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE (2014), is a prestigious Golden Lion winner.

    A Swedish LOVE STORY, centres on the puppy love between two teenagers Pär (Sohlman) and Annika (Kylin), and broaches tenderly their incipient sexual awakening. Set in the sun-drenched urban and sun-dappled rural Sweden, its colour scheme and raw warmth seem to contradict the typecast impression of Scandinavian landscape, a tinge of unusualness can be sensibly discovered through the non-existent narrative and its time-capsule pop references of the time: transistor radio, leather jackets, moped, smoking cigarettes (to emulate a sophisticated mien of adults), and pop songs aplenty. The intimacy and spontaneity between the two young leads suffice to induce a pleasant if to a certain extent, lackadaisical state of awareness. Ann-Sofie Kylin imbues her naturalistic pizazz potently in her laconic register and feline appearance (her captivating blue eyes in particular), and Rolf Sohlman, not a conventionally handsome boy, but his gauche precociousness scintillates great chemistry with Kylin.

    However, a tongue-in-cheek savour of Andersson's shrewd perception of the contemporary society lies in the adulthood, Pär's father Lasse (Tellfelt) is a working-class garage owner whereas Annika's father John (Norström), is an ambitious refrigerator salesman, and the relationship between him and Annika's mother Elsa (Weivers) is constantly under the strain. Another prominent character is Annika's Auntie, Eva (Lindblom), a single woman, who has just been released from the convalescent hospital in the beginning and forever struck by a lugubrious melancholy since she cannot find any footing in real life.

    The subplots of adults resolve half-heartedly around Pär and Annika's growing affections, until the last act, the puppy love has been sidelined to a a dinner party with both families in the countryside house of Lasse, where cone-shaped paper hats and crayfish bibs are taking the centre stage, the frictions of different views of the world inconveniently emerge, between the two patriarchs. A cynical and chagrined John bursts into a hysterical but also dead serious rant in the foggy morning and an impending tragedy seems to be in the offing. After reaching the emotional peak of despair and chaos, Andersson knowingly finishes off his confident debut with apparent levity but leaves behind an acrimonious taste of social critique which elevates the film above its central teenage affair, a sturdy and unique piece of work from an up-and-coming young filmmaker.
  • Quite a few years ago, when I fell in love with Roy Andersson, it was mainly in relation to his late aestheticism, his realist-absurdist films Sånger från andra våningen and Du levande, but also his brilliant short films. Now that I finally got round to this early film of his, I can only confirm that I am no longer in love, rather that I definitely love this director.

    Kärlekshistoria is a cinematic experience very much different than his later work and, at the same time, to a considerable extend related to it. This apparent ambiguity lies in the different realist/absurdist relations. While Sånger/Du levande present very real aspects of life in all their absurdity, in Kärlekshistoria it is content, rather than form that is dominantly absurd(ist). In this particular film, you will not meet a colourful cast of no-name people painfully engaged; entrapped into their miserable lives that do not seem to go anywhere. No old people dragging their dogs in the street, or weird-looking strangers in bars. However, this is not to say that that brand of cinematic opulence is absent from En kärlekshistoria. Quite the contrary, the characters do indeed feel the same things, do the same things, fail at the exact same things. In fact, I would go so far as to imply that both his earlier and his recent films revolve around the same: the dramatic irony that represents the essence of (failed) human condition.

    The (prominent) love storyline is set in the only context possible: childhood. This storyline is dominant, in terms of screen time as well as in terms of soundtrack; you basically watch two teenage souls fall in love, or something akin to it, if at times too much aided by music. At first the setting did not seem very Anderssonesque, though, almost alien to the image I'd remembered and cherished the director. What is more, I will concede to being slightly annoyed at the whole construction of the film. Naturally, after some time I acknowledged how misled I was.

    Actually, it was not until the last half an hour of the film that it, at long last, started to dawn upon me, when En kärlekshistoria's subtle and darker implications started unfurling. I felt like a stranger to the world of adults, as opposed/juxtaposed to the world of the young love- birds that I got to know and relate to. Mayhap I was too distracted at that point to fathom it, or to even recognise its presence/omnipotence, but, at any rate, I am quite sure this narrative device is deliberate. The music, I believe, served to push the boy-meets-girl story to the fore, leaving the adults to mind their own business and, consequently, the viewer not to.

    Bottom line should be the tagline. Moments of truth. It is also worth mentioning that this is one of the few titles whose taglines actually do a pretty darn good job at announcing what it will be about. It is precisely about the moments of truth, about the cracks in one's life, details that at some point overload one, demanding one's full and undivided attention. En kärlekshistoria gives one the dots, but at the end it is one who is left with the job of finding and connecting them into a whole. Once you accomplish that, the magic and the potency of this film is sure to follow.
  • Daniel Karlsson20 November 2004
    I had seen Roy Andersson's latest film "Sånger från andra våningen" (2000) before I saw this. Both were highly acclaimed in Sweden. I had expected quite a different film this time; after all, it was a love story, and since the director were younger when he made "En kärlekshistoria" I thought it would be somewhat more easygoing. That wasn't at all the case.

    There are several similarities between the two. There is a main plot about a 15 year old boy, working as a car mechanic assistant, who falls in love with an even younger girl. But that isn't the only thing this movie is about. Rather, it seems like Andersson shows a pessimistic view of the general problems of love in our society; lonely people, couples that quarrel, marriages that break up. Similar to his later film, it is shot slowly and very beautifully, and with a dominant depressive mood floating over it. This particularly depressive feeling which I dare to refer to as a mood characteristic of the whole Swedish society. The conversations are also very Swedish. It could be seen as criticism of the society; or just a twisted documentation of it with black humour (probably more plausible).

    I couldn't stand that the topic of love was described in this way. Love is the highest source of happiness. This film is completely without exaltation. Again; very Swedish.

    3/5.
  • drjukebox11 March 2006
    I actually didn't see this movie when it came out, although I was 13 at the time. I just saw it for the first time. I have heard good things about it, so I watched until the end. It is told slowly and beautifully, as we would expect from this director. The boy, the girl and their teenage love are the story. As a backdrop, we have dysfunctional adults, parents, relatives, friends and others, none of who seems to enjoy life even one bit. That is one of the problems with the film. If it is understood that this is depicted from the children's point of view, then it is perhaps OK. But except for the young couple, they're all cardboard, one-dimensional.

    I always felt this kind of movie has pretensions of realism, that it was made as a protest/alternative to the usual Hollywood fare, to "acting",to cinema as an escape. But it is only realistic to a very limited extent - the central love story. I frankly can't see it as any closer to "reality" than Sound of Music. Some see streaks of dark humor here. I must admit I cannot see that at all. It wouldn't hurt if it had been played as a comedy. I think that would be the only excusable way you could portray a group of people, a neighborhood, a nation this way - with a sense of humor. A modern successor to Andersson is Lukas Moodysson, equally adept with directing children but unable to direct people past adolescence with any depth. And last, folks, this is not a representative view of Sweden at any point in time, although some (including a few Swedes) claim it to be. It was never like this. I know, because I was there.
  • This film is a mess. Not only is the central puppy love story not very interesting, but plot point after plot point is left hanging. There is an aging aunt, for example, who is slapped at a dinner party and at another point is dragged by someone into a car. None of this activity is set up or explained to us. What really caused the problems between the parents of the young girl in the film? This is never explained. The film goes from being a story of deepening love between two adolescents to a story of quirky screwed up adults in the end. The filmmaker is obviously at this point in his young career out of his league. I saw this at the National Gallery of Art so I guess some people must see the benefits of viewing this film but I can not for the life of me see any reason to mount this film in any film festival.

    There are some hints of the wonderful quirky satirical stuff we see later in his film, Songs from The Second Floor, which is brilliant, but this first effort is not worth viewing. Skip it at all costs.
  • One of the most realistic portraits of teen-age love I've ever scene. Sensual, sad, and funny. Two terrific lead performances. Very different from Andersson's later, much more surreal films. This is grounded in an amazingly universal reality.

    The only weak spot is how the secondary stories of the grown ups around them take over the last third of the film. These are interesting and entertaining characters, but it's a bit like 'Romeo and Juliet' suddenly became about Friar Tuck. I get that Andersson is exploring class and politics in Sweden, and the point is to set the kids' innocence against that. But I still feel it's a bit unbalanced.

    But all that aside, this is a film I love for the way it captures that moment where love becomes something real, and sensuality becomes a part of your life.
  • As a matter of fact, I got annoyed and bored watching this film. Perhaps the 31 years that have passed since it came out do not do justice with the film, which apparently was very well received back then.

    I found it to sketchy when it came to dialogs - they are illogical and not natural, and in too many scenes there is nothing but images of what could be described as mild kitsch and nothing more.

    The acting is sometimes horrific. The parents sometimes act in ways that I cannot described in any other way but `crazy'. If Andersson wanted to show unstable adults around emotionally immature kids - then he has, but the scenes at the Kräftskiva (crayfish parties) are so weird as far as the human emotions displayed, that it makes little sense and still does not show the surrealist or absurd undertones that were probably what Andersson wanted to show.

    The 70's look is a real one - it was shot in the 70's, of course, and that is indeed a source of some enjoyment. But personally I found the film to be quite outdated and not too interesting as a whole.
  • Down the tenements, watching the train below, she's waiting for him. Here he comes and it's suddenly summer. On the dusty playground, he leaves her, she runs after him, he comes back, he hugs her, and it's suddenly summer. In the park, eyes meet, first sight. Through the window-pane, leaning on his silhouette, she searches for his perfume. Down on his knees, his face on her belly, he closes his eyes, and it's suddenly summer. On the countryside platform, alone in the morning,she stands, and looks away, she is suddenly summer. Against the mist,against the bitter wine of the grown-ups,against their renunciation and everything we have lost, they kiss, each the other's world entire, and are for ever, summer.

    This movie is a jewel.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This was the debut of a fresh faced Andersson in his mid twentys. Young love lingers in his mind, and he seeks to make this the core of his first feature film. But remarkably for a young debut there is also a tinge of cynicism in the world removed from the two lovebirds. The contrast of the naivety of Par and Annika with the pessimistic adulthood is not afforded a whole lot of diversity or nuance, but it is grim. In the near end where the adults party and the teenagers frolic, Par and Annika are locked in the same wordless embrace as they have been for the majority of the film, completely certain of their feelings. And the adults drink and drink and egg each other on, snidely take jabs at each other's livelihoods and class until it becomes uncomfortable to watch, and ramble drunkenly on their live's woes while no one really listens. There's a suggestion here from Andersson that the youth too will inherit this universal despair, aimlessness and quest for status - that these memories that are ingrained so strongly will become wisps in the wind as they age. It is fair to say that this issue is tackled better in his later, more iconic trilogy, about the trials and tribulations of being human.

    But what he does nail is the young love. Ann-Sofie Kylin and Rolf Sohlman are appropriately cast, with the right amount of jitteriness - almost as a direct contrast to the now modern preference of casting adults as teenagers. At first it is just glances, glances that are all too familiar. They linger for just a brief moment longer, and the camera does too - a bit of exposed skin, a hint beneath a skirt. They put on a brave front which Andersson betrays by displaying their age (see the bravado of Par's motorcycling riding, only to be humorously overtaken by a ice-cream licking bicycle rider). And when they get closer, their gaze becomes focused on their own insecurities and they can barely move at all. The music, by Staffan Stenström of Atlantic Ocean, is just perfect - in that sweaty, scarlet-infused club, they dance aimlessly, and try to make their glances discreet, all while brushing past significant, hazy figures in the foreground: teenagers know what they want. The bass-line is heavy, and the vocal is practically begging them to come together. And when they don't, because at this age we are rarely direct, they instead communicate via their friends, to try and gleam some insight into how the other feels. Anyone who has been young and in love will remember this little trick, and then some.

    And when they finally become a couple, they bury their heads into each other's shoulders as if was the last comfort in the world, and conversation is scarce - why talk when their bodies already radiate what their desires are? When Par is beaten up by an older boy, Annika descends into sobs as if thinking he no longer cares for her. Par is horror stricken that he has been shown up, and is no longer worthy of being with her. They make up in that iconic pose on the basketball court, and it is as if it never happened the next day. The see-sawing affections and dramatic bliss of young love. In the beginning Par watches a friend demonstrate his karate moves and poses, shouting in an exaggerated manner as if he was Bruce Lee himself. Women like big bad fighters, he says. If only it turned out to be that simple.
  • Two teenagers, Par and Annika, meet by chance during a visit to their relatives guests to a nursing home. Born among them a tender feeling growing in the background of a thin family distress and social impact, including regrets and recriminations of older people and betrayed the expectations of the most 'young people, along the dividing line of a generational crisis that is a mirror and reflection of a country that seems to have lost their national identity. In cold and distant reverberations of a remote Swedish Summer, director Roy Andersson seems to chase the chimera of a 'New Cinema' which (belatedly) aims to public attention through a Scandinavian vigilant attention to the events of the younger generation (teenagers who imitate American riders between leather jackets and juke box), not failing, however, to return the existential sense of a profound inability to communicate like a worm that eats away hopelessly family relationships and decreasing the aesthetics of the new impulses that had troubled European cinema in the previous years in the context mature and aware of non-trivial analysis of social relations and of an irreversible crisis of values, as happened in those years with the extraordinary exploits of Michelangelo Antonioni. Andersson attempts to capture the chorus of this social dimension through the use of medium shots that collect the plurality of appearances that fill the screen as an overview on the evolution of human relationships, often dropping the camera eye on the detail of the first plans from which we grasp the sense of a shared personal pain that makes collective grief (the grandfather crying at the beginning of the film claiming the imprisonment aware of the existence of a terminal condition, the young Eva who confesses his granddaughter premature failure of a personally and professionally project , the hysterical laughter of John shows that the sense of a contemptuous unbearable frustration individual). Against the background of this social and cultural discomfort you shake the manifesto of this new cinema, overlap the 'wave' of this generational aesthetic where you insert the delicate dialectic of a theory of looks that weave the plot of a visual approach, the bitter lust a sweet discovery sentimental, the return in motorbike without headlights in a twilight full of hopes. Striking the ending where in the delirium of ethyl salesman refrigerators will raise the desperate cry of a social failure as a prelude to the final tragicomic in the morning fog, a new sad homecoming. Cinema of passage, between the cold nihilism of a generational disenchantment and the silence of a domestic in communicability family, which returns the thickness of a work that collects 5 nominations and 4 awards at the Berlin Film Festival in 1970. The icy glare of Swedish Nouvelle Vogue.
  • Sensitive rendering of a teenage romance with absurdist touches, nice camera-work and nice score featuring nice period songs. One thing that bothered me throughout was the forced contrast between the youngsters' idyll and the ostentatiously existential world of adults. I don't know anything about life in Sweden in the sixties, but such degree of mediocrity, frustration and (male) aggressiveness seemed to me beyond belief - rather a funhouse of abstractions of modern angst than a sample of real people.

    But maybe the teenagers were not meant by Andersson to be as innocent as they seem. Driven by the same needs and desires as the adults, i.e. to play with others, to touch them/lean on them, to defend one's position in the pecking order ... - might they be models of the same egocentrism, albeit in a larval stage ?

    Very good transfer from Artificial Eye.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Directed by Roy Andersson, "A Swedish Love Story" stars Rolf Sohlman as Par, a fifteen year old kid who's madly in love with local girl Annika (Ann Kylin). Around our young lovers swirls a world of adults. Alienated, disillusioned, broke, tired, and devoid of hope, these adults seem on the brink of meltdown. Par and Annika, of course, are the opposite. Madly in love, they see the world through idealised eyes; everything's gold. Watch them dance.

    Novice actors, Rolf and Kylin lend the film a rare fragility. They're awkward, confused, their characters' romance conveyed with amorous glances and simple exchanges. Andersson's direction is low key. Very low key. The film moves like a whisper, a teenage dream, moments of whimsy and bounce periodically giving way to adults who grumble and grouse. Damn them. Damn those pesky adults, with their "problems" and their "baggage". Why they so blue? "Humanity is composed of a bunch of bastards," one grotesque adult grumbles. "Money is all that matters," another moans.

    But Par and Annika don't notice. How can they? They're like dandelion dust, fluttering, playing in an adolescent fun-yard, touching bodies, experiencing one another, probing and prodding and basking in all that is adolescent and awkward and oh so soft and gentle and my oh my there's my first kiss.

    To Andersson, Par and Annika are creatures still in a state of innocence. They're Adam and Eve before the fall. Lif and Lifthrasir in their secret forest, though around them the mundanity of maturity heaves its massive bulk. It's coming. But will our young couple turn into monsters? Will they be like daddy and mommy and their dour aunts and uncles? Of course not. They have hope, and zest and look good in miniskirts, tight jeans and when posed on-top motorcycles. They're rebels, baby. They've got things figured out. The world's their oyster. Blue jeans and push up bras. They're the future and the future is bright.

    Yeah, right.

    Interestingly, while Andersson's going for a balancing act – the shipwreck of adulthood juxtaposed with the blissful naivety of youth – for the purposes of advocating youthful optimism, the effect is the opposite. You want to slap these kids. You want to tell Annika to stop dressing like a hooker and Par to stop trying to look like James Dean. You ain't cool, kid.

    Incidentally, though perhaps not surprisingly, once you see how it aestheticises youthfulness, copies of the film frequently turn up after FBI paedophile raids. And whilst Andersson's films frequently counterpoint jaded maturity with blissful ignorance, "A Swedish Love Story's" young/old binary is a bit too simplistic. Often it's pessimists who are the most "optimistic" and the blissful who, in their self absorption, are truly "pessimistic". And of course adults are as delusional as kids, if not more so, and indeed are directly responsible for the delusions of the latter.

    7.9/10 - Worth one viewing.
  • The first three quarters of the film gives one an impression that it is a teenage love tale. The last quarter changes the tale into a socio-psychological film on adults. This last quarter gives one a a glimpse of the later matured Roy Andersson of the 21st century who gave us the rich trilogy of modern life "Songs from the Second Floor," "We, The Living" and " A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence" and following that with a very complex film "About Endlessness."

    "A Swedish Love Story" pales in comparison to the last four Andersson films. The monologue of John Hellberg of how he wants his daughter to be rich in life rather than be a country bumpkin and a refrigerator that he sells that does not switch on, much to his disappointment, anticipates the concern of salesmen and eventual joblessness in the trilogy and in "About Endlessness" that followed this film.