ELVIRA MADIGAN

By : Bo Widerberg

With : Pia Degermark, Thommy Berggren, Lennart Malmer
Suède, 1967, 95 min
Zone 2, Couleur,


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ELVIRA MADIGAN

Directed by : Bo Widerberg

With : Pia Degermark, Thommy Berggren, Lennart Malmer
Sweden, 1967, 95 min, dvd 9
Zone 2, colors

Original Swedish version, with french subtitles

ELVIRA MADIGAN is based on the tragedy of the Danish tightrope dancer called Hedvig Jensen (born in 1867), working under the stage name of Elvira Madigan at her stepfather's travelling circus, who runs away with the deserter Swedish lieutenant Sixten Sparre (born in 1854).

Hedvig Jensen is a famous ropewalker and is known to her public as Elvira Madigan. She meets Lieutenant Sixten Sparre, a Swedish officer who is married and has two children. They both decide to run away, but since Sixten deserted the army, he cannot find any job and the couple encounters many hardships. Moreover, while on the run, Sixten meets a friend who tries to convince him to come back to his country and family.

Bo Widerberg's vision of Swedish cinema parted radically with its contemporary form. He called for a greater political significance and more progressive story telling. Bergman being the leading figure of Swedish cinema, was not his ideal at all, although he recognized his position: "Nor me or my friends saw very much in him. We didn't find the issue of god's existence that damn important. But it's safe to say you'd be putting yourself in a bad position if you're trying to slit the throat of the father figure before your own debut." In his book “A vision of Swedish cinema” he concluded that Ingmar Bergman's films almost exclusively dealt with issues directed upwards, but more seldom in sideways, between people. According to Widerberg, Bergman made vertical films when the need for horizontal ones was most dire. On the other hand, Widerberg wanted film to be a tool of the social sciences, a kind of sociological report.
He won a Silver Bear prize in Berlin for ALL THINGS FAIR and a Special Grand Jury Prize at Cannes Festival for ÅDALEN 31. RAVEN'S END, ÅDALEN 31 and ALL THINGS FAIR all received a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Nomination

BONUS: booklet 21 pages, interview of Bo Widerberg by Laurent Mathieu (1993) / Review by Jean Capdenac


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