Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baksmälla (1973)

Baksmälla literary mean ”hangover”, and that starts this chamber play with Jörn Donner and Diana Kjær as a couple of the verge of break-up and break-down. They are Leif and Lena, who after some years together finally got married yesterday and now wakes up to the bitter reality of marriage.

Things do not get better with the naked woman walking around in the house, someone who woke up in bed together with Leif… Then the day starts, first with a stubborn insurance salesman trying to sell them a new house insurance, which just reveals more about their relationship then he can handle. A series of flashbacks tells us their story, both together and in their own adventures. At the same time they’re trying to refurnish the house, drink a lot of alcohol and blame the airplanes above them for making the house a hell to live in…

Once again Klubb Super 8 delivers a fantastic package. Baksmälla is actually a quite serious movie, a smart relationship-drama with some nice black comedy, some nudity and a lot of truth. Jörn Donner, the Swedish-Finnish actor, director, producer was controversial from the beginning of his career, and still continues to stir up controversy when he feels for it. What people tend to forget is that he’s a good actor and an even better director (among the movies he directed is the 1978 feminist drama, Manrape. Great flick!). Diana Kjær is even better as Lena, the bored wife who looks back at her adventures in Spain. The acting is very naturalistic, and much of the dialogue has a feeling of ad-libbing.

This is hardly a glamorous movie, but an excellent example of the Scandinavian drama-sensibility that has been lost over the years and now only is over-worked, contrived orgies in self-indulgence.

The print used by Klubb Super 8 has some minor damage, but it’s still a beautiful and stunning print. It shows the Swedish (and Finnish) greyness in a great way. For those who want more exploitation, the UK version from 1978 is included to. I just fast-forwarded a bit, and it seems quite different with a lot added nudie-footage and much of the relationship-drama cut. That print is taken from VHS, but still looks acceptable.

I need to mention the awesome score by Claes Af Geijerstam too. I wish this was released somewhere. Some tracks is ironically over-the-top, but mixed with low-key piano-based songs which fits wonderful to dirty snow of Sweden.

Another fine release from KS8, and of course I would recommend everyone to buy it, watch it and realize that there are other relationship-dramas from Sweden than dear old Bergman.


Anonymous said...

That cover is from the american release is it =)?

Ninja Dixon said...

No, it's the new Swedish release :)