I was afraid I’d find this Swedish period piece by Ake Sandgren cutesy, but I wound up liking it quite a bit. Based on an autobiographical novel by Roland Schutt, it’s set in Stockholm in the 20s. The ten-year-old hero’s mother is a Russian Jew, his father’s a revolutionary socialist, and his older brother, an aspiring boxer, keeps punching him in the nose. The anti-Semitism of Roland’s teacher and schoolmates and the illegal activities of his parents–which include distributing condoms to workers and attending incendiary political meetings–make him something of a defiant outcast. All the characters are treated with a fair amount of humor and affection (the father, played by Stellan Skarsgard, is indelible), the period details are well handled, and the episodic story line is fairly engaging. The film doesn’t dig too deep, but it might make you feel pretty good. With Jesper Salen and Basia Frydman. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, July 29 through August 4.
In my review of Blown Away last week, an editing error made it sound as if an Irish wedding takes place as Tommy Lee Jones is blasting his way out of a prison cell at the beginning of the movie, and as if Jeff Bridges appears in the opening sequence. In fact the wedding and Bridges’s first appearance take place later in the movie.
From the Chicago Reader (July 15, 1994). — J.R.
The second installment (1992) in Eric Rohmer’s “Tales of the Four Seasons” centers on a young Parisian woman, aptly called Felicie, who fluctuates between two suitors — a pensive local librarian and the owner of a chain of beauty salons who’s moving to Nevers and wants her and her young daughter to come live with him. But in the back of her mind she’s holding out for the return of a former lover, the father of her daughter, whom she lost track of after they spent a summer holiday together; she accidentally gave him the wrong address when he moved away and she never heard from him again. The conception may be a little too rigorously Catholic for some tastes (including mine), but Rohmer has become such a master of his chosen classic genre — the crystalline philosophical tale of character and romantic choice — that this is a nearly perfect work, in performance as well as execution, with an apposite if ambiguous extended reference to Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale in the penultimate act. With Charlotte Very, Frederic Van Dren Driessche, Michel Voletti, and Herve Furic. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, July 15 through 21.