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

Reviewed by Darryl Walden.  Viewed at the AFI Film Festival, ArcLight Hollywood.

There were no spectacular bells and whistles in Everlasting Moments.  Nor, do I think Director Jan Troell intended such.  Rather, the film is an intelligent and sensitive expose of a family’s struggle to survive in Sweden at the turn of the twentieth century, and that country’s simplistic adjustment to modernization which is epitomized by the ‘Contessa,’ one of the first prototypes of a portable camera that drives the theme of the film.

The narrative evolves with Maria Larsson (Maria Heiskanen), who, in a time of financial need,  attempts to sell a “Contessa’ camera  she won in a lottery just prior to her marriage with Sigge (Micheal Persbrandt), to a local photographer Sabastian Pedersen (Jesper Christensen).  Pedersen, moved by Maria’s humble demeanor and native intelligence, instead begins to instruct her on how to operate the camera.  Maria becomes intuitively adept, marveling at her own ability to capture and preserve life’s images.

Sigge drinks and is sometimes physically abusive.  He becomes jealous of the rapport between Maria and Pedersen.  Maria nearly abandons her use of the camera, yet, it has also become a source of extra income and respect in the neighborhood.

The cinematography is superb.  Mike Gibisser and Susan Turman manage to capture natural lighting in order to portray an era when electricity was not commonplace.  There is a distinct art to such lighting techniques and they proved themselves worthy.

Casting played an integral role in keeping this film together.  Maria stoically embraced a myriad of woman’s issues of her time.  If I were a Lifetime executive, this film would certainly find a place in my cable format.

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