A SWEDISH LOVE STORY (EN KARLEKSHISTORIA) (director/writer: Roy Andersson; cinematographer: Jorgen Persson; editor: Kalle Boman; music: BjoBandelorn Isfalt/Jan ; cast: Ann-Sofia Kylin (Annika), Rolf Sohlman (Pär), Anita Kindblom (Eva, Annika’s Auntie), Lennart Tollén (Lennart, Eva’s fiance), Tommy Nilsson (Roger, Annika’s brother), Gunnar Ossiander (Pär’s grandfather), Bertil Norström (John Hellsberg, Annika’s father), Margreth Weivers (Elsa, Annika’s mother), Lennart Tellfelt (Lasse, Par’s father), Maud Backéus (Gunhild, Par’s mother), Verner Edberg(Uncle Verner), Arne Andersson (Arne); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ejnar Gunnerholm; Artificial Eye (PAL); 1970-Sweden with English subtitles)
“Wickedly humorous and poignant love story between two romantic adolescents experiencing love for the first time.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Swedish TV commercial director Roy Andersson (“Songs From the Second Floor”/”You, The Living”/”The World of Glory”), in his debut feature film, writes and helms this wickedly humorous and poignant love story between two romantic adolescents experiencing love for the first time. It’s set during the summer of 1969. The 15-year-old Par (Rolf Sohlman) is happy to drive a moped and have a summer job in an auto repair shop assisting the playful mechanics. Par visits with his family his world-weary grand-father (Gunnar Ossiander), who disclaims at one point that “this is no world for the lonely” and accepts his fate of residing in a country sanatorium under the care of an efficient nurse. While getting sandwiches at a nearby pastry shop in the park for the family, the angelic-looking Par’s attracted to the cutey 13-year-old Annika (Ann-Sofia Kylin), who is also on line getting food for her family. From then on Par and Annika eyeball each other for a good part of the flick, as the wannabe lovers can’t make physical contact after so many furtive looks at each other in many different spots they keep bumping into each other.

The romance between the smitten youngsters almost fails to materialize over not being able to communicate and seems doomed when an older boy humiliates Par by soundly beating him up in front of his dream girl. But youth shall be served, and they meet and begin a passionate romance.

Meanwhile both of their parents, from different social classes, are unhappy and cynical about love, as are all the adults featured.

The pic’s memorable classical scene is when Annika stays overnight in Par’s country house, and the next day her folks visit and are guests of honor to a cray fish party that’s also attended by many of Par’s close relatives. Everyone is forced to wear pointy party hats and don bibs, and sing songs. Annika and Par sneak away and are happy to just be with each other. Meanwhile Par’s parents, Gunhild (Maud Backéus) and Lasse (Lennart Tellfelt) are easy going but have lost their passion for life, while her parents are very unhappy. Refrigerator salesman John (Bertil Norström) is a nasty insulting loudmouth and his wife Elsa (Margreth Weivers) is too scared to live anymore. They both feel their lives have been wasted. That’s also true for Annika’s bouncy Aunt Eva (Anita Kindblom, Swedish pop singer), the only one Annika trusts in her dysfunctional family. Eva’s dream was to be an airline stewardess, but she was too tall for the job. Disappointed with her life and unhappy about her career not working out and why she still’s unmarried, Eva walks around with a large dog that can’t stop barking and is engaged to an abusive man.

I loved this film. They don’t make adolescent love stories any better.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”