A film by Jan Troell
2008/Sweden/131 minutes/ Col
24th Nov; 5.45pm
Perks Mini Theater
'Everlasting Moments" presents a paradox: It's a small, graceful epic. Set in southern Sweden during the first decades of the 20th century, the movie picks one face out of the tenement crowd: Maria Larsson (Maria Heiskanen), impoverished, overworked, saddled with a brutish husband named Sigge (Mikael Persbrandt) and a growing gaggle of children. Then it hands her a still camera and watches as, to Maria's own great shock, her creative fires are lit.
"Everlasting Moments" is beautifully attuned to tectonic shifts in the culture even as it attends to this one small life. We see Maria's marriage and art through the eyes of her oldest daughter, Maja
The movie is is about Maria, who is a strong woman, resilient, complex. She raises the children, works as a house cleaner, copes with the family's poverty. Once, when newly married, she won a camera in a lottery. Now she finds it and takes it to a photo shop to pawn it and buy food. Maria is not sophisticated and may have little education, but she is a deep and creative woman and an instinctively gifted photographer. She has no theory, but her choices of subjects and compositions are inspired.
"Everlasting Moments" is quiet, observant, and intensely moving whenever Heiskanen is on screen, and it has a valedictory sweep that feels like a summing up. Troell lovingly re-creates a time when socialism and Charlie Chaplin movies represented the ways forward, and he anchors his social panorama in the meek, stubborn stare of an unnoticed woman possessed with looking at everything.
Before becoming one of Sweden's leading film directors in the mid-'60s, Jan Troell spent nine years as an elementary school educator. In the early '60s, he began making amateur films. One of them, Stad, the story of a boy looking for his lost turtle, was aired on television in 1960. In 1961, Troell began making television documentaries such as Baten/The Ship. He got his start in feature films working as an assistant for Bo Widerberg in 1962. He was first a cameraman for Widerberg and then a co-editor. In 1965, Troell contributed to the portmanteau film 4 x 4. The following year he made his feature-length directorial bow in 1966 with Here's Your Life. He has since become known as one of Sweden's best directors for such internationally acclaimed films as The Emigrants (1971) and The New Land (1972). Troell has also directed a couple of films in the U.S., including Zandy's Bride (1974).