If you’re in the mood for an old-fashioned drama bereft of flashy gimmicks and nausea-inducing shaky-cam, you may want to plan on spending the evening of Thursday March 4 at Pacific Film Archive. The Archive will be screening director Jan Troell’s Everlasting Moments, a Scandinavian co-production with primary funding supplied by Copenhagen’s Final Cut Productions.
Troell is best known for his pastoral tales of Swedish immigrant life in late nineteenth century Minnesota, The Emigrants and The New Land, which packed rep houses and earned Academy Award nominations in the early ‘70s.
Everlasting Moments is set in turn-of-the-century Malmo, Sweden, and explores the effect a new camera has on the life of everywoman Maria Larsson (Maria Heiskanen, the nice girl in Aki Kaurismaki’s Lights in the Dusk). Won in a lottery, the camera provides Maria with temporary escape from her busy life as mother of seven and spouse of dipsomaniac (and, on occasion, abusive, dockworker Siggy (Mikael Persbrandt) — and also allows her to establish a (strictly platonic) relationship with photographic mentor Sebastian (Jesper Christensen).
Bathed by cinematographer Mischa Gavrjusjov in autumnal hues of red and brown, this is a simple, heartfelt character study, beautifully made and entirely free of artifice. And for those in attendance, there’s a super-duper extra-added bonus: director Troell will be on-hand for a pre-screening chat with Linda Rugg, associate professor of Scandinavian studies at UC Berkeley. That promises to be quite a memorable moment in itself.
PFA’s new auteur series, Joseph Losey: Pictures of Provocation, starts on Friday March 5 at 8:40 pm with a very rare screening of Losey’s 1951 remake of Fritz Lang’s M. This film has aired infrequently at best on television (and has been completely MIA for at least the last ten years) and was not well received on its initial release, as it offered a none too subtle commentary on the HUAC/McCarthy lynch-mob mentality that would ultimately compel Losey to decamp for Europe a year later. M makes an encore appearance on Saturday March 6 at 6:30pm, when it shares a double-bill with Losey’s brilliant, angry, and very strange film noir, The Big Night, which follows at 8:45 pm.
With Oscar night looming on Sunday March 7, interesting new releases are few and far between this week. The one exception is at the Shattuck Cinemas, where the Red Riding trilogy is currently playing. Set between 1974 and 1983, the films recreate the terrifying years when Peter Sutcliffe, the lorry driver known as The Yorkshire Ripper, committed thirteen gruesome murders. (Yorkshire, by the way, is divided into three sub-divisions known as ridings — hence the title of the trilogy). If you have six hours to spare and a taste for gritty British neo-realism, look no further.