AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

5/19/09

Everlasting Moments Movie Review


Swedish master Jan Troell returns (he was previously an Oscar nominee for “The Emigrants” in 1973) as his country’s current official foreign language Oscar submission with “Everlasting Moments,” a rich, intensely personal film, that distills its epic scope into a series of memorable evocative images.

Winner of five prizes at Sweden’s Academy Awards, including best picture, the film is based on the difficult life of the grandmother of Troell’s wife. The movie is set at the turn of the previous century, where Maria Larsson (marvelously played by Maria Heiskanen) struggles to manage her family as the mother of seven children and wife of a an abusive, womanizing, alcoholic laborer (Mikael Persbrandt).

She ultimately finds solace in a Contessa camera she won years before in a lottery and stored away. When she meets the empathetic proprietor of the local photographic studio (Jesper Christensen), he gets her involved the subtle art of picture-taking. “Not everyone is endowed with the gift of seeing,” he says encouraging her, after seeing some of her images.

Troell and his cinematographer Mischa Gavrjusjov have that rare gift of seeing, as they recreate for the viewer the ambience of Malmo, Sweden in the years preceding and following the First World War There are magical moments throughout in simple images like a lonely streetcar making its way through a snowy night and there are Maria’s photographs that find magic in black and white and elevate their conventional subjects.

Another pleasure of this movie is its stately pace. The changes in Maria’s life are incremental, like the images she develops the old fashioned way in the darkroom. As she accepts her exceptional talent as a photographer, other changes also bring brightness into her once bleak life.

Jan Aaron
Education Update

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