mon 23/10/2017

Sweden

DVD/Blu-ray: A Man Called Ove

It takes a while to get going, and doesn’t altogether evade sentimentality but overall this black comedy is hugely endearing. Rolf Lassgård (complete with bald cap) plays Ove. He's a depressed and resentful 60-year-old widower who can’t see any...

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Black Lake, Series Finale, BBC Four review – Nordic noir comes to an unsatisfying end

Beware – here be spoilers, though if you can make them out through the blizzard of cliché that engulfed the last double-bill of this thunderingly underwhelming Nordic noir then you’re already ahead of me.Black Lake (BBC Four) saw a group of largely...

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Henning Mankell: After the Fire review - of death and redemption

The dour, reclusive disgraced doctor Fredrik Welin has appeared once before in Henning Mankell’s work, in The Italian Shoes. The shoes appear early on in After the Fire as ghosts, referred to as bespoke luxuries made by an admired craftsman, and...

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Santtu-Matias Rouvali on conducting in Gothenburg - 'they just want to make music. No bullshit'

Sweden's ackowledged "National Orchestra", the Gothenburg Symphony, left its Chief Conductor post unfilled for four seasons, but now it's finally certain to have let the right one in. Having enjoyed a golden age in the (largely unsung) highest...

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After the Rehearsal/Persona, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Barbican - van Hove reconfigures Bergman

Three tall orders must be met in any successful transfer of an Ingmar Bergman text from screen to stage. First, take a company of actors as good as the various ones that the master himself assembled over the years, both in his films and in the...

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Borg/McEnroe review - Wimbledon face-off is entertaining if incomplete

A spate of tennis-themed films gets off to a vivid if incomplete start with Borg/McEnroe, which recreates the run-up to the Wimbledon Men's Final in 1980 with often-thrilling clarity and (as much as is possible for those who will of course recall...

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Black Lake, BBC Four review – Nordic blanc falls flat

What would Saturday nights be without BBC Four’s regular subtitle-fests? Black Lake, their new Swedish import, has nothing in the way of originality to recommend it, but its tale of a haunted ski resort somewhere out towards the Norwegian border may...

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The 'self-experimenter': Howard Brenton on Strindberg in crisis

I wrote The Blinding Light to try to understand the mental and spiritual crisis that August Strindberg suffered in February 1896. Deeply disturbed, plagued by hallucinations, he holed up in various hotel rooms in Paris, most famously in the Hotel...

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Prom 61 review: Fleming, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Oramo - heliotropic ecstasies

No sunshine without shadows was one possible theme rippling through this diva sandwich of a Prom. Even Richard Strauss's chaste nymph Daphne, achieving longed-for metamorphosis as a tree, finds darkness among the roots; and though Renée "The...

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theartsdesk at Bergman Week - finding the spirit of the great Swedish filmmaker

In his biography The Magic Lantern, Ingmar Bergman recalls his first encounter with the Swedish island of Fårö, in 1960, when location scouting for his next film, Through A Glass Darkly. A last, desperate bid by the film’s producers to find a...

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CD: Shitkid - Fish

Finally, a new band that lives up to a fine name and great cover art. Then again, Shitkid do a whole lot more than that. Their music sounds like the antithesis of contemporary chart-pop, which is refreshing, but even better, also doesn’t do the...

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Blu-ray: My Life as a Dog

My Life as a Dog is a bittersweet coming-of-age yarn which took Sweden and the art cinema circuit by storm on its release in 1985. Anton Glanzelius plays Ingemar, the 12-year-old narrator with a pixie-faced charm; his mother has TB and is exhausted...

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