Friday, 28 February 2014

Masjävlar (2004)

In Masjävlar (also known as DalecarliansSofia Helin, star of - for my money - the finest Nordic Noir series The Bridge, stars as Mia, a Stockholm based professional who returns to the rural backwater town in Northern Sweden that she grew up in to celebrate her father's 70th birthday.

This is a quirky little tale about families,  secrets, repressed emotion and the unspoken bitter resentments and tension that are harboured in close knit communities. Uniquely Swedish in tone it may be, but one thing is for sure, it's a film that tells us that families are the same the world over and that times of celebration and of bringing people together often just show how far apart we all are.

At the heart of the film is the relationship between the three sisters played by Helin, Anne Petren and Kasja Ernst. Petren is a somewhat silly (on first appearances) newly divorced woman discovering what the single life has to offer her, whilst Ernst is the disapproving sibling who has taken it upon herself to always be there for her parents and the family, and never letting anyone forget it. Add to the mix Helin's more cosmopolitan and independent Mia and you've three uniquely different characters.

Maria Blom's film perfectly captures the small locale atmosphere and the light and shade inherent in the Swedish character. There's some funny moments as well as moments of great sadness all played brilliantly by the cast; Helin is as watchable as ever, whilst Ernst greatly impressed me in her role. Nice acoustic folky soundtrack too.

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