PELLE THE CONQUEROR (Bille August, 1987)

Prosaic, pictorial rather than visually expressive, richly photographed in color by Jörgen Persson and beautifully acted by 12-year-old Pelle Hvenegaard in the title role (best young actor, European Film Awards), Pelle erobreren is based on the first of the four 1906-1910 novels by future communist Martin Andersen Nexø. His namesake, modeled on Nexø, is indeed […]

HAMSUN (Jan Troëll, 1996)

Isaac Bashevis Singer called Norway’s Nobel Prize-winning Knut Hamsun, the author of Hunger (1890) and Growth of the Soil (1917), the “father of modern literature.” Hamsun, beautifully played by Max von Sydow (best actor, Bodil and Guldbagge Awards, and at Valladolid), is the subject of Hamsun, a long, interesting, handsome production directed by Sweden’s Jan […]

SHAME (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

Civil war continues. Jan and Eva Rosenberg, both musicians (read: apolitical artists), have retreated to an island, where they farm. They are an alternately warm, good-natured and combative couple. Eva (Liv Ullmann, giving her best-ever performance—best actress, Guldbagge Award, National Society of Film Critics, National Board of Review) lightly, charmingly tells Jan over dinner outdoors, […]

THE BEST INTENTIONS (Bille August, 1992)

The courtship and early marriage of Ingmar Bergman’s parents in early twentieth-century Sweden, a poor, self-sensitive Lutheran priest and a cultured girl from a wealthy family: this is the narrative territory of Danish filmmaker Bille August’s somber, absorbing, beautifully scored Den Goda viljan. August, working from a script by Bergman, won the Palme d’Or at […]