Special Report By Moira Sullivan
During July a retrospective of the films of Swedish Filmmaker Christina Olofsson was held in Uppsala, the hometown of Ingmar Bergman. Starting out as a film editor, Christina Olofsson worked for Swedish television in the 1970s until she came to odds with the management, primarily because she was interested in provocative themes that the station did not want to broadcast. One such film that they later actually funded in the 1990s Darling Nina about a woman incest survivor was allowed to be passed off to TV 4 Sweden, under the pretext that the family of Nina would sue if it were broadcast on Swedish Television. That did not happen at TV4 at all so the question is why the fuss.
Basically Olofsson hand picks her crew and actors with the condition that what is shot is subject to review. If there are any problems, she scraps it. If something should be added she does that too. Such was the case for Lines of The Heart , 1996 an inside view into acting by none other than Bibi Andersson, Gunnel Lindblom and Harriet Andersson. The actors met at the home of the deceased Mai Zetterling, a controversial Swedish actress turned director who said no to a career in Hollywood. In the 1960s Zetterling among many features made The Girls, in 1966, a feminist classic and modern day interpretation of Aristophanes Lysistrata about the women of Athens who threaten to stop making love until all war is stopped. It turns out of course that all three actresses have also been stars in Ingmar Bergmans films, such as Persona, Cries and Whispers and The Seventh Seal.
Three recent films by Olofsson are worthy of mention. Truth or Consequences (1997) is about rowdy young female teenagers who bully their classmates. Olofsson says she listens to the audience very well. Young women say the film is totally accurate. Young men however say that such girls don't exist. Likewise in Happy End (1999) starring Harriet Andersson, a young man develop a friendship with a 60 year old woman. Not possible say young men. Totally possible say the women. And in Touched by an Angel , (2001) a young girl takes care of a cat abandoned by her owner in a old cottage where women in the early 2oth century took care of abandoned babies. She also educates her alcoholic mother and irresponsible boyfriend. This is realistic, say both men and women. But is it something for children to see. Yet, how many directors pay attention to the audience. Count on Christina Olofsson.
A commitment to political and social issues is at the core of Olofsson's work, forged in the 1970s. She helped to start the 'Swedish Women's Film Association' in 1976 along with Mai Zetterling where the industry was forced to acknowledge the work of women. A 1987 film which is still shown in film festivals and film archive programs is Woman is a Risky Bet: Six Orchestra Directors . Currently Olofsson is working on an adaptation from a novel by the late Swedish author Göram Tunström within her own production company. She works in Trollywood, a film production area in western Sweden where 'Film in West' is located, and where Nicole Kidman is supposedly making the new Lars von Trier film, Dogville . Judging by the success of Olofsson's last three features and her long standing record for quality films, both documentary and feature, she is an important name associated with todays contemporary Swedish film.
This is Moira Sullivan for Movie Magazine International, Stockholm Sweden. And you've been listening to music from Christina Olofsson's soundtracks by Johan Zachrisson.
© 2001 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 8/01
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