A peek at Sweden’s female directors
For the Herald
Women take centre stage with three films screening in BA starting todayWhen you talk about Swedish cinema, it’s very likely that the first name that springs to mind is that of Ingmar Bergman, the most celebrated and influential Scandinavian filmmaker with a filmography of over 40 titles (The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly, Cries and Whispers, and Fanny and Alexander among his best works).
Of course you can also include Victor Sjöström (The Phantom Carriage, The Wind), Mauritz Stiller (who discovered Greta Garbo and brought her to the US), Roy Andersson (A Swedish Love Story, Songs from the Second Floor), Vilgot Sjöman (The Swedish Mistress and 491, which was originally banned because of its explicit sexual content), and Bo Widerberg (Raven’s End and The Man on the Roof, deemed true Swedish film classics).
More recently, there’s Lasse Hallström (who shot most of ABBA’s videos as well as ABBA, The Movie, then came the Oscar nominated My Life as a Dog, and the US films What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules, and Chocolat, Lukas Moodysson (Show Me Love, A Hole in My Heart), and Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In).
And yes, they are all men. But that doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole and current spectrum. As an example, take the upcoming film cycle Cine de mujeres de Suecia (Cinema by Swedish Female Directors), organized by the Swedish Embassy, and featuring three of the most representative films of today’s Swedish reality, all of them shot by female directors. Needless to say, a not-to-miss chance to get acquainted with a different kind of cinema. The programme is as follows:
Love During Wartime (2010), a documentary by Gabriella Bier. Osama is Palestinian and Jasmin, his wife, is Israeli. They’ve recently married, but due to racist laws they must live separated (she in Berlin, he in Ramallah). The aggressive Israeli bureaucracy — alongside the hostile Palestinian society — turns their life together into a living hell. So they opt for exile. And yet the promise of a bright new tomorrow soon starts to vanish when Europe at large keeps on rejecting them time and again.
Eat, Sleep, Die (2012), a fiction film by Gabriela Pichler. Set in today’s Sweden, Eat, Sleep, Die tells the story of Rasa, a 20-year-old immigrant from Eastern Europe who works in Sweden, but is sacked from her job at a factory for alleged inefficiency. As she desperately tries to get a new job, she has to take care of her severely ill father. Eventually, she’ll have to make a heart-wrenching decision to keep afloat. Winner of the Audience Award at the Critic’s Week at the Venice Film Festival.
She Monkeys (2011), a fiction film by Lisa Aschan. Emma and Cassandra are two teenagers on a horse riding acrobatic team who enter into a destructive friendship with a great deal of tension and psychological power struggle. Critically acclaimed at the London Film Festival, She Monkeys is, according to Variety, “one of the most intense and complex feature debuts to come from Sweden since Lukas Moodysson’s Show Me Love.”
When and where
Today, 7pm: Love During Wartime by Gabriella Bier. Screening followed by a talk between the German-Israeli actress Jasmin Avissar and Argentine actress Graciela Verónica Spinelli (Beirut Buenos Aires Beirut)
Tomorrow, 7pm: Eat, Sleep, Die, by Gabriela Pichler. Screening followed by a talk between Swedish producer Lotta Forsblad and Argentine director Ana Cacopardo (Ojos que no ven)
Thursday, 7 pm: She Monkeys, by Lisa Aschan. Screening followed by a talk between Swedish actress Mathilda Paradeiser and Argentine director Wanda López Trelles (Comadres).
Centro Cultural San Martín (Sarmiento 1551)