A Swedish Love Story (1970) dir. Roy Andersson

7/2 @ Museum of Fine Arts


The MFA’s magnificent retrospective of Roy Andersson’s determinedly eccentric, hiatus-punctuated oeuvre comes to an end tonight, alas, but not before looping back to its beginning for a screening of A Swedish Love Story (1970), a debut feature whose granular melodrama is as unrepresentative of its director’s later, far zanier productions as its bone-deep humanism is consistent with them.

Andersson’s long interlude between feature films saw him gain notoriety in a different medium (just how different? that’s beyond our scope here): television advertising, a field in which he garnered (smirking?) praise from the exalted likes of Ingmar Bergman. A gift for the soft-focus soft-sell is indeed on display in A Swedish Love Story, whose dyad of dewy-souled spring chicks—sweetly idealized and flatteringly shot—gets by on colloquies composed of hums, chuckles, coos, and other close-cuddle cluckings. The film, which might have been little more than a lovely, trivial tone-poem rhapsodizing teen romance, is instead embedded in an all-show, no-tell tale of middle-class families pervaded by status anxiety and loneliness, a context that allows it to serve as a kind of salute to one of our most popular consolations and least renounced religions.

A Swedish Love Story
dir. Roy Andersson
115 min

Part of the ongoing series: The Films of Roy Andersson

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