Thursday, November 06, 2008

En natt / One Night

SE 1931. PC: Svensk Filmindustri. D: Gustaf Molander. ASS.D: Gösta Hellström. SC: Ragnar Hyltén-Cavallius [based on a true story as told by Armas Järnefelt]. DP: Åke Dahlqvist. ASS.CIN: Rolf Husberg. Lighting: Sixten Andersson. AD: Arne Åkermark. M: Jules Sylvain (= Stig Hansson). Songs: "Internationalen" (Degeyter, Henrik Menander), "Atenarnas sång" (Sibelius, Viktor Rydberg).
    C: Björn Berglund (Armas Beckius, the red son), Uno Henning (Vilhelm Beckius, the white son), Gerda Lundequist (the mother, Lady Beckius, a colonel's widow), Ingert Bjuggren (Marja, the Russian red girlfriend of Armas), Karin Swanström (Minka, Marja's mother), Sture Lagerwall (Niku).
    Long version originally 83 min. The surviving short version 78 min.
    A Cinemateket / Svenska Filminstitutet print with e-subtitles in Finnish by Lena Talvio viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 6 Nov 2008.

A brilliant print with a beautiful definition of light.

The story of Finland's Civil War of 1918. Two brothers in Karelia, one is Red, the other is White. The family is torn apart, a symbol of Finland's fate at the dawn of independence.

Although Gustaf Molander was born in Helsinki, the film is inauthentic and unbelievable from a realistic point of view, and it was offensive for both sides. It shows the red rebellion as an export article only with no basis in the circumstances of the country. It shows the whites organizing immediate executions without trial.

The rhetorical dialogue is on the lines of "you don't know what a man's honour is" and "and you have no idea of a woman's love".

This being said, the film looks great, it is one of the best-looking Swedish films. The opening montage of the old mill. The revolutionary montage in the style of the great Russians. The camerawork is consistently interesting with sharp editing, a richness of composition, shots ranging from extreme close-up to impressive long views. There is a good sense of action in the chase sequence. The sensual attraction of Marja is engaging and original. The final dawn takes the breath away.

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