Sunday, March 14, 2010

Under the Sun

aka Under Solen
Colin Nutley, 1998, Sweden (9.5*)
An extreme rarity: an uplifting love story, and from Sweden no less. In this surprisingly simple story (from a novel by H.E. Bates), a lonely Swedish farmer, believably portrayed by Rolf Lassgard, who shared the family house with his now deceased mother places a newspaper ad for a live-in housekeeper. His simple and idyllic lifestyle is dramatically changed when the ad is answered by a beautiful and mature blond woman, perfectly cast by the director's wife Helena Bergstrom. When she doesn't immediately run away and moves in, his best male friend (Johan Widerberg) is both jealous and suspicious.

This film has many pleasant surprises, especially compared to classic romance films of the past, and when compared to the emotional angst prevalent in nearly all famous Swedish films, such as those of Ingmar Bergman. Here the nearly primitive pastoral setting is juxtaposed with the coming rock and roll age, as his young friend is a big fan of American rock and the new attitude shaking the world's more conservative traditions. There is a tension cleverly set up between the three by director Nutley, and an unsettling undercurrent that belies the pleasant romance occurring on the surface. I won't spoil any surprises for the viewers here, just make this a must-see foreign film and you'll be glad you braved the subtitles.

I love the metaphor of the silent airplane used in the film's opening, there's a forum discussion about this at IMDB for those interested in researching this film after viewing.


7tavern admin March 19, 2010 at 12:50 AM  


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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