Troell's expansive first feature is a statement of intent, reviving the outdoor naturalism through which the classic Swedish cinema of Sjöström and others made its name, but applying a typically '60s sensibility highlighting social divisions. Based on Eyvind Johnson's novel Romanem om Olof, it's a celluloid Bildungsroman, set during the years of the Great War, and following Axberg's teenage protagonist as he quits his peasant foster parents' humble home in northern Sweden. Moving through a variety of labouring jobs, he eventually signs up as projectionist in a travelling cinema show, and begins to develop some political awareness. He has always had aspirations to be a novelist, and Troell's understated but authentic record makes clear how crucial these school of life experiences will be in shaping this alert individual. The documentary-influenced style that later marked The Emigrants emerges almost fully formed here, the director/editor/cameraman's evident respect for ordinary workers and his faith in letting the material speak for itself are justified by a leisurely but compelling narrative through-line.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Jan Troell, Bengt Forslund|
|Cast:||Max von Sydow