The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

A tremendous Swedish effort

with 10 comments

Today is June 6 and we’re supposed to celebrate the National Day of Sweden. To be honest this is barely noticeable. There will be more proud and happy Swedes out in the streets waving yellow and blue banners if Sweden wins a match in the European championships in football (soccer if you insist on it) than there are today.

And actually this is a good thing, something to be grateful about. It’s a sign of how peaceful and sheltered our existence is and has been for hundreds of years. Huge manifestations on national days come more natural to countries that have been deeply affected by war.  Here we take everything for granted.

An overlooked Swedish film
I’m not completely void of patriotic feelings though, so I thought this day would be a good one to give a little nod to a sadly overlooked Swedish movie named Gone (Försvunnen).

This is a thriller about a young woman who finds herself followed and captured by a crazy murder type of a guy and how she tries to escape.

There is action, there is a lot of tension (my teenage children thought it was the scariest movie they’d seen for ages and were constantly ready to burst out in a scream) but you never get to know a lot about the characters. It’s a genre movie where everything is stripped down so only the core remains. Fear. Struggle. Survival. Think The Hitchhiker, think Spielberg’s Duel and you get the picture of what sort of a film it is.

Considering it’s a debut film with a tiny budget, I think the makers of it have all reason to feel proud of what they have accomplished.

An inspiring example
And that brings us over the extra material, which will stay longer with me than the actual film.

This movie was made against all odds and without financial support of the Swedish Film Institute, which as far as I understand it is more or less mandatory to have if you want to make a full length feature film in Sweden. If you can’t convince them to support your project, it’s not going to happen.

Mattias Olsson and Henrik JP Åkesson did like every other young and aspiring filmmaker and sent in an application. But when it was turned down, they didn’t let it stop them. Instead they went to look for alternative financing, approaching potential private investors.  It wasn’t easy to find the budget of a little more than 1 million dollars, but after several years of hard work they succeeded.

In the extensive extra material they share the story about the project from the idea stage to the theatre premier. My 18 year old was hooked. This is such an inspiring example, not just for people who want to make movies, but for anyone who carries a dream about making something extraordinary of their life.

I hope Gone can be a door opener and that those guys will have an easier time to find people who believe in their next project. Maybe abroad. It wouldn’t surprise me.

Gone (Försvunnen, Mattias Olsson and Henrik JP Åkesson, SWE, 2011)
My rating: The film 3,5/5 The effort 5/5

Written by Jessica

June 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Försvunnen

10 Responses

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  1. Such a good choice of a 6th of june post!!!

    The LAMB (@LambThe)

    June 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    • I knew you’d approve! You never stop talking about this film. 🙂

      Jessica

      June 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm

  2. I definitely need to see more Swedish films; modern ones, particularly. Though I could watch Ingmar Bergman, Victor Sjostrom or Roy Andersson movies all day!

    Tyler

    June 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    • You’ve seen Lukas Moodysson’s movies? I particlurly love Together and Show me Love. He’s making a new film now that seems to be more youth oriented. Looking forward to that.

      Jessica

      June 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm

  3. I’ll be keeping a lookout for this one Jessica. Recent Swedish material has been really impressive of late. In fact, Scandinavia in general are producing the goods. What’s the secret over your way just now?

    Mark Walker

    June 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    • Right now I would say that Norway is on top. I heard something about massive govermental support over several years, which now is giving return on investment.

      As of Sweden I’m afraid we’re sending some of our most talented actors and directors on export.
      2011 wasn’t an overly impressive year. Försvunnen was good, Play which I’ve written about previously was excellent, but apart from that I was pretty disappointed at the Swedish movies I saw.

      However there are some good signs: Tomas Alfredson doing a Swedish movie, Lukas Moodysson doing a movie again… I’m hopeful about the future. Maybe we’ll catch up and give Norway a fight about being the best film country in Scandinavia.

      Jessica

      June 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      • It’s funny you post this just now because one of the paragraphs on my forthcoming review of the Norwegian film Headhunters actually mention the work of Scandinavia recently. I’ve not seen enough of Lukas Moodyson though. I’ll have to remedy that. Alfredson is a real talent.

        Mark Walker

        June 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm

  4. Great post 🙂

    fernandorafael

    June 8, 2012 at 4:38 am


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