Take a Drink: every time you hear Mozart
Take a Drink: whenever Elvira and Sixten act like schoolchildren
Take a Drink: for makeout seshes
Take a Drink: for picnics
Take a Drink: for money
Take a Drink: when a shot floors you
Do a Shot: when Sixten runs for the first time in his life
That’s not how you do it, silly.
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
I was just talking about my wife’s almost always (bridgetjonesesdiarycough*cough*cough*) excellent movie picks, but she topped herself last week with Elvira Madigan, a film I’d never even heard the barest hint of, not even the faintest whisper.
As opposed to the blaring klaxons of The Avengers: Age of Ultron
This 1967 Swedish film dramatizes the true life tale of Swedish army deserter Sixten Sparre (Thommy Berggren) and Danish tightrope walker Elvira Madigan (Pia Dagermark) and their ill-fated romance.
Yes, Lady Gaga, it’s as bad as it gets
Director Bo Widerberg makes a bold choice in the beginning of the film with a title card that both establishes the following as a true story and gives us the tragic ending to it (then teases us with the opening scene). His goal is very simple- track a relationship from idyllic beginnings to terrible decision-making, and the rapidly intensifying fallout from that. It’s very Romeo & Juliet, with a poetic feeling of building towards an inevitable tragedy (well… evitable, but I’ll give it a pass for art’s sake).
Yeah, probably shoulda told her first…
Widerberg and DP Jorgen Persson enhance the timeless, almost (dark) fairytale nature of this story with gorgeous camerawork and stylish direction. You could frame and proudly display just about any given shot in this film, particularly the stunning twilight panoramas and sun-kissed views of a yellow-dressed Madigan surrounded by nature. Widerberg’s direction reminds me very much of Terrence Malick, overlaying that beautiful, nature-focused cinematography with voiceover and intermittently dropping music and dialogue. It’s all very dreamlike and elegiac, easy to get caught up in the strange rhythms of, and Dagermark’s understated performance and big, wet eyes are their perfect muse.
Don’t go expecting Malick, exactly, though. This film is about emotion and feeling, and getting swept up in them, but like many iconic stories, when you step back and really think about them you’ll be rather puzzled by the characters’ decisions. It’s not deep, but it washes over and envelopes you nonetheless. More annoying is the dubbing (in the original language), which can be jarring.
Elvira Madigan is a gem of a film- an expressionistic little tale of eternal, doomed love.