Thursday, September 11, 2008

Everlasting Moments

Jan Troell | 2008 | 125 mins | Denmark + Sweden + Norway + Finland

A sweet little turn of the 20th century period piece from Swedish film veteran Jan Troell, Everlasting Moments is a family history narrated by the daughter of the two protagonists.

Maria (Maria Heiskanen) marries Sigfrid (Mikael Persbrandt, who is really terrific in his role) when they are both quite young. He seems like basically a good guy, but he keeps losing jobs, coming home roaring drunk and beating her and the kids, though usually only if he's feeling reeeeeally impotent outside the home.

The frustrated wife turns to photography (of all things), striking up a tender but platonic friendship with local photographer Mr. Petersson (Jesper Christensen) and recording the lives of her family and neighbours. For her, photographs provide a magical escape from her disappointing life and a view into another world, one far fuller of possibility than her own.

Troell creates multi-dimensional characters who are full of flaws but never beyond redemption. A film about seeing, observing and understanding, Everlasting Moments offers a tender, saccharine view of early 20th century life in Sweden, seen through the eyes of a camera, a woman and the little girl who carefully watches them both.

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