Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15
SWEDISH TITLE: ‘Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick’.
UK Release Date: 22nd May 2009
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 23rd May 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is an interesting Swedish film about a woman, Maria Larsson, who lived in the early twentieth century in Malmo. The film is based on true events and is in Swedish with subtitles, so if you’re not into reading subtitles you’d probably better stop reading now. Before I tell you what I think of it, I’ll give you a short synopsis.
We begin in 1907 where Maria, her husband Sigfrid and their three children are living in Malmo. Sigfrid, or Siggi to his friends, works on the docks and, when he’s had a drink, he is prone to hit his wife and the children. Maria pleads with him to stop drinking, which he does for a while and then he’s back into the same routine. One day Maria finds a camera and, because money is short, she decides to take to a photographic studio to see if she can sell it. The owner, Mr Petersen, takes pity on her and, rather than buying the camera, he shows her how to use it. She takes her pictures back to the shop and Mr Petersen helps her develop them. He is impressed and gives her developing chemicals and photographic paper so she can continue. Mr Larsson by now is having a hard time at the docks, Socialism is spreading across Europe and a strike is called. Maria continues to take photographs on and off and after the outbreak of World War One, one is chosen to be printed in the newspaper. As time passes the family grows larger and Siggi begins to have affairs with other women, but Maria stays with despite all his bad ways.
The story is narrated by her eldest daughter, Maja, whose perspective gives the film an interesting narrative. A well made film which, if slowly paced, gives an insight into life in Sweden around the turn of the twentieth century. Decent performances from all of the main cast: Maria Heiskanen as Maria Larsson, Mikael Persbrandt as Sigfrid Larsson, Jesper Christensen as Sebastian Pedersen and Callin Öhrvall as Maja Larsson (age 15-22).
I quite enjoyed this film, although it has a slow pace, but you’re never quite sure what will happen next. I have seen some of Maria Larsson’s work on various TV shows about photography and she certainly had an eye for it. In the end it’s quite a touching story about a woman torn between her passion for photography and her love of her family. Just one comment about the subtitles, why do the people who put subtitles on films insist on keeping to just one colour, sometimes the background is the same colour as the text and it’s impossible to read! (OK, rant over) Over all, recommended for those that can deal with the subtitles.
My score: 7.3/10
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0961066/