Saturday, November 10, 2012


Maud Nycander, Kristina Lindström: Palme (SE/DK 2012).

    SE/DK © 2012 B-Reel AB. P: Fredrik Heinig, Mattias Nohrborg.
    D: Maud Nycander, Kristina Lindström. DP: Anders Bohman, Magnus Berg – digital post-production: The Chimney Pot. Graphic design and AN: Martin Hultman. M: Benny Andersson. ED: Andreas Jonsson, Niels Pagh Andersen, Hanna Lejonqvist. Research: Jonas Goldmann, Anneli Kustfält, Lars-Olof Lamperts.
    Multi-lingual in Swedish and other languages. Palme himself speaks good English, Swedish, French, and Spanish in the archival footage.
    105 min. [Announced: a tv series version Palme I–III, 3 x 58 min.].
    Released by Scanbox Finland with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Scandinavian Text Service [Swedish subtitles for non-Swedish passages only].
    2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 6, Helsinki, 10 Nov 2012 (weekend of Finnish premiere).    

Featuring (as listed in Svensk filmdatabas): Olof Palme [archival], Lisbet Palme, Joakim Palme, Mårten Palme, Mattias Palme, Ulf Adelsohn, Roy Andersson, Carl Bildt, Ingvar Boman, Ingvar Carlsson, Jörn Donner, Lars Edelstam, Kjell Olof Feldt, Anders Ferm, Carl Johan De Geer, Jan Guillou, Richard Guston, Christina Jutterström, Anette Kullenberg, Anna-Greta Leijon, Thage G. Peterson, Olof Ruin, Mona Sahlin, Pierre Schori, Desmond Tutu. – More people featured in archival footage: see my rough notes beyond the jump break.

Synopsis from Svensk filmdatabas: "It's 25 years since the February night when Olof Palme was shot dead on the streets of Stockholm, changing Sweden forever overnight. Palme is the film about his life and times, and about the Sweden he helped to create. A man who changed history."

AA: A magnificent documentary portrait on Olof Palme (1927–1986). Palme was a statesman with an international stature and dignity, never avoiding controversy, and this movie is worthy of him.

The documentary is obviously authorized by the Palme family which has given access to the home movies of the family. Yet it is not a glossy and sanitized portrait; the attempt is rather warts and all.

Palme never avoided debate, conflict, and controversy, and neither does this movie which also deals with sensitive and difficult aspects of the Palme story, including the IB scandal of blacklisting political opponents.

One of those aspects is that Palme was vocal on Vietnam but not always so alert about injustice next door, although he condemned the Prague repression in 1968. In Finland it was even more so. It was easy to condemn Pinochet although we knew what was going on in Estonia.

The movie has a strong vision about welfare society, fought for by the social democrats, but becoming common property in the 1980s, as Jörn Donner gets to state here.

The public and official statements of little Sweden on behalf of international solidarity and against aggression, dictatorship and racism are now seen in the perspective of history. The statements did matter.

And the Swedish welfare model, top of the world, did matter, not least in Finland.

Compilation quality with source footage ranging from home movie 8 mm to tv video quality to newly filmed interviews.


- Olof Palme interviewed by David Frost: never think about your obituary. - Police alarm audio tape on Palme's murder in 1986. - Castro and Kissinger. - Playing tennis. - Palme enjoying his weekly sauna finlandais, chaque semaine. - Palme and other Swedish top politicians not bothered by intruding camera crews catching them at intimate moments in the style of American direct cinema by Robert Drew in Primary etc. - His bourgeois background - Östermalm - 1927 - förändra världen = change the world  - a family of power - sladdbarnet, underbarnet = the youngest child, das Wunderkind - mother from Latvia, Baltic nobility, family Knieriem - came to Sweden as flykting = refugee - because Sweden was best - but it is not easy to live with us Swedes - at seven years Olof had to endure the death of his father - he went to Sigtuna, a boarding school for the upper classes - I: Catharina Palme - I: Ingvar Boman - he was slarvig = unkempt - här fostras en maktelit = the power elite was educated here - I: Richard Guston - the family tradition was to study the law - Ohio: Kenyon College, BA, 1947-1948 - förändrade hans liv = changed his life - he learned speech = argumentera - rhetorics - I: Olof Ruin - the headmaster was impressed, but Palme's family wanted Olof home - before that Olof hitch-hiked for three months in America - 40.000 kilometers - he learned the grass roots level - he visited the slums in the South - I sat in bars and talked with people - a new Olof Palme - Sweden had the fastest economic growth - the Social Democrats had reigned for 20 years - new rights for education, for annual holidays - a modern model - Palme was engaged in the international student movement - in that capacity he visited Prague in the early 1950s - engaged against antisemitism and totalitarism - met a student called Jelena Rennekova and married her in a skenäktenskap = sham marriage to get her out from Prague - pathos against oppression - engaged by prime ministeri Erlander - A: Tage Erlander, landsfader = father of the country - I: Lisbet Palme - "but you are a politician" - he was 26, Tage and Olof blossomed in each other's company - I: Lennart Geijer - Tage saw in him "the greatest political talent of the century" - I: Lars Cederstam: Tage was a father figure for Olof whose real father died when he was seven - Moscow 1956 - inseparable - A: Bulganin, Khrushchev, Molotov - Erlander fell ill - he was seen as a careerist - in his soul and heart he was seen as an elite guy from Stockholm - I: Lisbet Palme: "I was attracted to his gravity" - he seemed both older and more modern - A 8 mm: Olof with baby carriage - the family accompanies Olof to the hall where Olof swears the oath to serve in the government - he was 36 - he was Erlander's right hand man with foreign languages - 1963 - 1964 party congress - ♪ The Internationale in Swedish - he was direct, intelligent - the First of May - from class society to folkhem = welfare state - samhällssolidarität = social solidarity - huge housing problems - A: Ingmar Bergman - he was able to endure long stretches without eating, could sleep anywhere - drank a lot of coffee, smoked - the family moved to Vällingby, a modern housing area - A: reportage from Vällingby - like Kennedy he defended civil rights - A: John F. Kennedy's final moments in Dallas - A: Vietnam, The Beatles, ♪ Peter Seeger: Where Have All The Flowers Gone?, 1968, Martin Luther King, Atlanta - A: Palme: the bombing of Vietnam must stop - he was a minister of education, participated in demonstrations - Palme and the Swedish neutrality in question - Paris 1968 - I: Anders Ferm - the society of affluence - I: Annette Hallenberg - Palme remembered how he had been interrupted by cries of Stalin, Stalin, Stalin - the occupation of the Students' House - A: Palme: jag kom hit att lyssna = I have come here to listen - student: vem fan vill bli anpassad i det här samhället - samhälle, ditt och Wallenbergs? = who the hell wants to get in a society like this - a society of yours and the Wallenbergs - Palme defending democracy in front of Maoists - I: Pierre Schori - they were demonstrating with red flags and stopped at red lights - I: Carl Johan De Geer - A: cars and picnics - I: Lisbet Palme - our deal was: there has to be a four week holiday - it was an ultimatum - on the Fårö we had a house without water and electricity - only the nature, the people, and solitude - A: 8 mm home movies - the social democrats were on the rise - segervalet = the victory election - over 50% of the vote - he had trouble with the teeth - I: Sven Aspling - there was a thorough job with his teeth - he got a new set of teeth - A: David Frost and Olof Palme - the prime minister is one of the team - the party congress 1969 - Palme elected unanimously - there was a shiver in the spine - already then I thought: I hope he won't be assassinated - A: Palme jogging in the forest - the youngest prime minister in Sweden - Palme's pojkar = Palme's boys - we were naive and undisciplined - biking, dancing, taking it easy, relaxing - his hair was unkempt - I: Mona Sahlin - he was always curious, he was attractive to women - Sweden had the highest standard of living and the lowest unemployment - the Swedish model - the best in the world - there was a hubris - allt genast = I want it all and I want it now - money was flooding in  - I: Kjell-Olf Feldt: everything was possible - I: Ingvar Carlsson: Palme was shocked with the LKAB strike in Kiruna in 1969 - the wild strike - the media called Palme to fix it - the strikers wanted Palme - they were communists - "don't go" - he always wanted to debate - I: Mattias Palme - I: Mårten Palme - he flashed past - when holiday started he was exhausted, mother got to drive - I: Joakim Palme - during the first days we had to turn him around to prevent him from getting sunburnt - soon he was tanned, unshaved, in a good mood - he kept a register of everything, including Christmas presents - A: 8 mm home movies - 1972 Christmas: terror bombing of Hanoi - Palme was tense - I: Christina Jutterström - I: Henry Kissinger - I: Gösta Bohman - I: Carl Bildt - he never reacted with neighbouring countries - but he took a public stand about Prague in 1968 - A: Jörn Donner: he is very intelligent, the most intelligent in the country, too intelligent in his utstrålning = charisma - the hostage drama at Norrmalmstorget in 1973 - I: Thage G. Peterson: the Stockholm syndrome - I: Lennart Geiger - Santiago, Chile 1973 - Harald Edelstam claimed the Cuban embassy Swedish territory and saved 250 people - the election 1973: the worst for social democrats since 1932 - don't shoot while I take my key from gömstället = the hiding-place - I: Ulf Adelson - he was an excellent orator in big public events but on tv as seen at home he could seem hard and cruel - he was advised to change: I have to take care that they don't start to pity the adversary - Stalinists and Maoist monitored by the secret service - IB-affären = the special service of the social democrat party exposed - A: Jan Guillou - there was a black list of leftist people including 150.000 radicals - I: Jan Guillou - he made the mistake of denying it - the journalists were sentenced to prison as spies - I: Roy Andersson: this affair marked the social democrats for decades - A: Harry Schein: he started to recognize in himself traits he did not like - montages with Arafat, Castro, in Havanna, 1975, the first Western state visit to Castro's Cuba - Palme insisted in giving a speech in Spanish - I: Anna-Greta Lejon - the million programme: a million new homes built in ten years - the biggest salary rise: 30% in two years - the shared responsibility of child care - Palme against dictatorship in Europe, including Spain, Portugal, and Greece: satans mördare = the damn murderers - there was a scandal after another - Ingmar Bergman taken by the police - A: Ingmar Bergman - Bergman leaves Sweden - A: Shirley MacLaine and Olof Palme on the Bergman affair - A: Astrid Lindgren and her tax level exceeding 100% - skattemardröm = tax nightmare - all this was taxing on Palme's nerves - a rumour was spread that he was mentally ill and visited the Beckomberga mental hospital every week for treatment - in fact Palme did visit Beckomberga every week to visit his mother who was demented - I: Thage G. Peterson - Olof's sons were bullied at schools, their schoolmates urged them to wear black - meaning that their father would soon be killed - the hardest issue was nuclear energy - A: Thorbjörn Fälldin - he believed in technology, in development - he lost the support of the ingelligentsia - A: Tage Danielsson - the culture turned its back to him - 1976 - Fälldin as prime minister - for the first time in 44 years social democrats lost - the loss was heavy - I: Jörn Donner: the welfare state had become common property - Geijer and the prostitution ring scandal - the case was closed but the suspicion never disappeared - life as a tennis game - A: Margaret Thatcher: socialism is on the way out - unemployment on the rise, Neoliberalism on the rise - social democrats inte i takt med tiden = out of step with the times - löntagarfonderna = employee funds - Palme had a hard time in having to defend that concept - ful gubbe till vacker svan = turning an ugly old man till a beautiful swan - Branting enade = Branting had united - Palme did not want to split - he was a romantic about workers - he listened especially closely to workers - economical countercurrent and turbulence - then: his greatest victory - after six years in opposition - det har jag väntat på länge = for this I have waited for long - lättnaden enorm = the sense of relief was enormous - we have to get rid of the antagonism we / they - against the antagonism against immigrants - he truly found racism disgusting - for him people did not have colours - Sweden was the only country which took a stand against apartheid - I: Desmond Tutu: he made us not anti-white - I: Ingvar Carlsson - there was a lot of aggression against him - Palme on air examines hostile caricatures drawn about him - there were Olof Palme dartboards - a life-size Palme in effigy was produced in a mass meeting to be stepped on - dad was never afraid, but I was - on the last night Palme felt that his feet were stiff from too much sitting and wanted to walk home - A: the murder scene - peace, internationalism, solidarity - the funeral procession with red flags - the winter 1986 - the self-image of Sweden was crushed - we have left an age behind us - death bells - Palme's words.

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