Friday, April 17, 2009

Everlasting Moments (Rhoades)

“Everlasting Moments” Is Not a Kodak Moment

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Those Swedes, they all want to be Ingmar Bergman.

But in “Everlasting Moments” – the true story of photographer Maria Larsson – director Jan Troell settles for delivering a fine biography.

Here’s a working class woman who wins a camera in a lottery, and goes on to become a famous photographer. The story is told through the eyes of her daughter Maja.

Maria Heiskanen does a nice turn as Larsson, appearing charmingly touched when one of her photographs is published in the newspaper. A series of young actresses portray her daughter at various ages.

Troell’s wife co-scripted the film, basing it on interviews she conducted with Larsson’s real-life daughter. During her research she came across a cache of Maria Larsson’s pictures, and used them as inspiration for the images seen in the film.

Set in the early1900s, the cinematography has the look of a fading color photo. First shot in 16mm, the film was blown up to 35 mm. “Then you get a little grainy picture that fits the turn of the century era and also relates to the early silent cinema. I have deliberately kept the colors down and used similar sepia tones as those in for example Victor Sjöström’s films,” says Jan Troell.

Troell usually serves as his own DP, his lyrical cinematography placing him in the ranks of such modern Swedish directors as Bergman and Bo Widerberg.

He started off as Widerberg’s director of photography, but soon began making his own films. You are likely familiar with “The Emigrants” and “The New Land,” Troell’s epics featuring Max von Sydow in the lead role.

He seems to gravitate to films with a working-class theme. And they often fixate on real role models. “As White as in Snow” (“Så vit som en snö”) tells of Swedish aviatrix Elsa Andersson. “Everlasting Moments” (“Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick”) gives us photographer Larsson. And even in his seventies, Troell is working on a film about publicist Torgny Segerstedt.

This subtitled 2008 film won the Gulbagge Award as Best Film and was nominated as Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.

The characters are sometimes not so appealing, but the depiction of Maria Larsson’s life is much closer to truth than “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus,” that entertaining but spurious biopic about another famous female photographer.
[from Solares Hill]

No comments: