Everlasting Moments (Jan Troell, 2008): Sweden | Denmark

Reviewed by Liz Thelander. Viewed at the ArcLight Hollywood as part of the AFI Film Festival.

When photography was still in its infancy, an artist had to take great care in producing his or her work. Cameras were such a new technology that the subject had to sit perfectly still, the set, lighting and exposure had to be carefully planned, and the finished photo had to be run through a lengthy developing process to get the final result: a beautiful, unique work of art. Here, director Jan Troell is the meticulous, imaginative photographer with an unparalleled eye for composition and color, and Everlasting Moments is his beautiful, unique creation. You feel his film the way you feel an old photograph—it glows with raw beauty and the careful attention its creator paid to its conception and execution.

Maria Larsson is a middle aged mother of way too many children in a poor, rural town in turn-of-the century Sweden. With an abusive alcoholic husband and no work except cleaning the houses of the rich and taking care of her children, Maria desperately seeks some meaning, something to cherish while she works out the kinks in her life. For Maria, that moment comes when she discovers a camera that had been stowed away in a drawer and forgotten about. She is captivated by the magic of photography and falls in love with the process, from the first click to her first developed print. She keeps her camera hidden, taking photos behind her disapproving husband’s back. Her camera helps her cope with her life’s many issues and at the same time allows her to capture its most precious moments.


Everlasting Moments is saturated in a rich sepia glow that reminds one of old photographs. Greens and yellows are vibrant, making Maria’s world fertile and warm. The musical score is amazingly sweet and even optimistic. This is a slow-paced movie, but it does not drag on at all. The story is moving, heartfelt, and at times incredibly funny. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates incredible beauty as well as flawless, moving performances.

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