Magazine article Screen International

Stockholm East

Magazine article Screen International

Stockholm East

Article excerpt

Dir: Simon Kaijser Da Silva. Sweden. 2011. 93mins

The opening night film of this year's Critics Week in Venice is a full-blooded melodrama rich with the twisted human knots, all-consuming anguish and nerve-shredding moral quandaries for which Scandinavian film-makers have become world leaders. Sweden's Simon Kaijser Da Silva, a TV director making his first feature, has crafted an engrossing romantic drama, part faithful to the conventions of melodrama, part full of surprises.

Adult audiences hungry for substance will find it eminently fulfilling.

As befitting the intensity of its plot, Kaijser Da Silva hires two of the region's best actors: Mikael Persbrandt, the Swede from In A Better World and Everlasting Moments who will win plenty of mainstream attention next year from his roles in the two Hobbit films; and Iben Hjejle, the Danish actress best know by international audiences for High Fidelity. The two are outstanding and their conviction goes a long way to making the improbable plot convincing.

Opening in Sweden on Oct 21, Stockholm East should gain attention outside the Nordic territories from festivals, arthouse buyers and possibly US producers interested in a remake. Adult audiences hungry for substance will find it eminently fulfilling.

Persbrandt is Johan, a good-natured man happily partnered with Kattis (Mjones). Hjejle is Anna, a contented woman married to Anders (Norlen) and devoted to her daughter Tove. But when one morning, Johan runs down Tove and kills her, the four lives spiral into crisis.

Some months later, Johan is still on leave of absence, unable to overcome his deep sense of guilt, while Anna is still unable to pick up the pieces and clashes with Anders who wants to have another child and move on. …

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