Top 10: Swedish Movies

  1. CloudStrife84
  2. Mike

The 10 best Swedish movies ever made.

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Together (Tillsammans) 2000,  R)
Sällskapsresan (The Charter Trip) 1980,  Unrated)
Sällskapsresan (The Charter Trip)
Swedish comedy classic and one of my top 30 favourite movies of all-time. If you ever wanna know what Swedes are really like as a people, then be sure to watch this, because this movie has captured us in a nutshell. A masterpiece, in its own charming and odd little way.
Smultronstället (Wild Strawberries) 1957,  Unrated)
Smultronstället (Wild Strawberries)
"You know so much, and you don't know anything." Master of all things meaningful, oeuvre-crafter Ingmar Bergman is no stranger to philosophy. Where the common director goes for the risklessly safe, Bergman takes the audacious route in a prototype vehicle. Every undertaking a challenge. Every tale a crack at the Herculean questions of life and death. "Who am I and why have I become this way?" are the ones at the heart of Wild Strawberries, a character study of infinite appliance, about an old medical professor named Dr. Isak Borg, who at the winter of his existence reminisce on the choices and events that would eventually arrive at his socially distanced self. Lonely, in part by selection. Cynical and cranky, as the result of incidents made fog-like by the opacity of years gone by. But then it comes to him in a dream: angst-filled, strikingly symbolic imagery, involving a handless clock (as if to say his time is up) a coffin, flying open, revealing his still alive double expressing spiritual unrest (a self-explanatory metaphor) and last, but certainly least on the bizarreness barometer, a man with a face that - in lack of a better description - only a mother could love. To that last bit I say: [insert interpretation here]. But it is disturbing, let me tell you. Catalytic in effect, the dream sequence also has the function of a pivotal epiphany. A knock on the door from the bony knuckles of the Grim Reaper (and perhaps a game of chess later on) which in reality manifests itself as an altered course of action. Instead of, as he had originally planned, taking a plane from his home in Stockholm to Lund where he is expected to receive an honorary degree, Dr. Borg decides to go by car instead, making a few stops along the way in what becomes an external journey as much as a spiritual one. Following along is Marianne, his daughter-in-law played by the drop-dead gorgeous Ingrid Thulin. An actress of such contemporary beauty that you'd never guess it was shot in 1957. We also meet Sara, a sassy young woman (in a vibrant turn by Bibi Andersson) and her entourage consisting of two men at different positions regarding the existence of God. There are some fantastic scenes involving these two; starting off as intellectual debate and later escalating to some more testosterone-filled pushing and shoving. After which Sara hilariously responds: "Well, is there a God?" There's a lot of humorous touches like that baked into the strawberry pie, which makes it all the tastier. Sweet as that may be though, the main ingredient is more like lemon; sour at Dr. Isak's musings, about love lost and desires unfulfilled. A character who we get to know inside and out, as memories from his past suddenly becomes clear as day; accounting for his glass-is-half-empty persona, as well as the anima in which we discover a man full of warmth and love. In theme and sentiment, it reminded me a great deal of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and works beautifully as a companion piece to The Seventh Seal. The soul-searching, the existential reflections - it not only mirrors Bergman's own inner struggles at the time (referred to as his "middle period") but also serves as an insightful clue to the subversive, independent thought patterns that shaped the modern Swedish mindset and made it what it is today. If I'm going to fault the film for anything, it's that shifts in dialogue between poetic and folksy aren't always in concert. For the most part, the screenplay nails it, so it's by no means a major issue, but enough to place it half a star away from a perfect score. Apart from that, however, a deeply mesmerizing meditation on life, death, faith and regret. Riveting performance by Victor Sjöström as Dr. Borg and a magnificent film altogether, which became even more captivating by the fact that I have traveled on some of the same roads as they do in the film (both scenery-wise and spiritually I should say). Yet, to put it all in words, as I have attempted here, is rather futile when it comes to Bergman. There's not a film by him that I have seen so far that haven't submerged me in a flood of ethereal contemplation. Timeless and spellbinding, it's a maelstrom, however, that I'm more than happy to swirl about in.
Sällskapsresan 2 - Snowroller (Charter Trip 2) 1985,  Unrated)
Sällskapsresan 2 - Snowroller (Charter Trip 2)
Not quite as good as the first movie, but still a great classic!
S.O.S. - En segelsällskapsresa, (S.O.S.: Swedes at Sea) 1988,  PG)
As It Is in Heaven (Så som i himmelen) 2004,  Unrated)
As It Is in Heaven (Så som i himmelen)
A gripping, uplifting and emotionally powerful drama, about a successful conductor (Michael Nyqvist), who returns to his childhood village, to find some peace of mind after suffering a near-fatal heart attack. His presence, however, causes quite the stir - bringing out the best (and worst) in the people he encounters. A beautifully deep-going character study, that moves, inspires and accurately reflects the Swedish small town mentality. Nominated for an Oscar in 2005 for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year.
Fanny och Alexander (Fanny and Alexander) 1982,  R)
Fanny och Alexander (Fanny and Alexander)
Without doubt the best movie I've seen by Ingmar Bergman so far! This amazing classic has some of the most beautiful scenery and art-directing ever conceived in the history of cinema. Superb acting all-around and an intriguing story that is incredibly moving. All in all, Swedish film-making at its best, and something you can appreciate whichever country you're from.
Evil (Ondskan) 2006,  G)
Evil (Ondskan)
One of the best swedish movies of all time :-) It's no wonder it got nominated for an Oscar.
Den Osynlige (The Invisible) 2002,  Unrated)
Tomten är far till alla barnen (In Bed With Santa) 1999,  Unrated)
Tomten är far till alla barnen (In Bed With Santa)
Have very fond memories of this film. Not only because I saw it in the grand premiere with the director himself presenting, but because it's also one of the funniest swedish movies ever made. Great comedic timing and a wonderful cast with fun and colorful characters. I always refer to it as the swedish answer to "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation".

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