During September, the Swedish Film Institute arranged special ceremonies for two of the Sweden’s most popular actors: Greta Garbo and Harriet Andersson. On the occasion of what would have been Garbo’s 100th year birthday on September 18th there was a special screening of The Atonement of Gösta Berling
when the actress was a mere 18—accompanied by a new score composed by Matti Bye performed by a string quartet. In the film Garbo plays the Italian countess Elisabeth Dohna who accompanies her Swedish husband to his manor. When the marriage is called off she falls for the defrocked priest Gösta, but not until after a chase over the ice with wolves pursuing their sled. The dress from the silent classic was displayed in a glass case outside the cinema , with films projected of younger Garbo at the PUB department store modeling clothes, eating cake with friends or camping near a lake. An exhibition of Images of Greta included displays entitled Garbo Talks, Garbo Laughs and Queer Christina about the cross-dressing role Garbo played in Rouben Mamoulian’s Queen Christina
. Eighteen of her films are to be screened during the autumn.
"I never said I wanted to be alone. I said I wanted to be left alone," was one of Garbo’s famous statements about keeping her private life distinct from her public one.
A week later it was time to honor Harriet Andersson, the subject of a special interview book edited by Swedish journalist Jan Lumholdt. According to Lumholdt , in the early 1950’s “Harriet Andersson was Sweden’s answer to Lauren Bacall, Gloria Grahame or Lana Turner, known as one of the most exciting and sensual women in film, hard-boiled on the outside, and with a past”. At the special ceremony honoring Andersson there was none of that hard boiledness, but a lot of humor and style. She claimed that she had said what she could about her life and didn’t want to spoil if for those she didn’t mention in the book. In Summer with Monica
by Ingmar Bergman, she is the poster girl whose icon is ripped from the walls of a marquee by Jean-Pierre Léaud in Francoise Truffaut’s 400 Blows
. She told me that her gaze into the camera at one point "lived within the film". The Swedish Film Institute chose one of her English language films to honor her with on the occasion of the book release, The Deadly Affair
directed by Sidney Lumet. Of that time she recalled a special gathering where she was told not to wear blue jeans. "I never wear blue jeans", she responded icily.
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm Sweden.
© 2005 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 10/05
Swedish Film Institute Honors Garbo and Harriet Andersson