Tuesday, October 13, 2009

All Things Fair

Lust och fägring stor; Romantic drama, Denmark/ Sweden, D: Bo Widerberg, S: Johan Widerberg, Marika Lagercrantz, Karin Huldt

Malmo, Sweden, '43. Stig (15) is a teenager who came from Stockholm. His older brother is a sailor who fights in the war whereas his father is an alcoholic. Stig works in the cinemas selling candy but one day has to stay behind in class and clean up glued flies he hit. He then falls in love with teacher Viola (37) and starts a secret affair with her. Viola's husband Kjell is often out for work so the couple has enough time in her apartment. Even when Kjell discovers the affair, he becomes friends with Stig. But when the teenager starts a relationship with a girl his age, Lisbet, he breaks up with Viola, who in anger makes him flunk the class. Since his brother died, Stig leaves in resignation.

Excellent love drama "All Things Fair" with a topic of a relationship between a young student and a more mature teacher reminds of "The Graduate", compared to which its only for a nuance weaker, but it's not that classics's surrogate. The most astounding things is that the backdrop of the story, World War II, remained deliberately insignificant, whereas the main story, relationship of the couple, truly became the most important aspect, which is an unusual twist of cliches since in most movies it would have been the other way around. Even though it was his last film, director Bo Widerberg queues the details of the controversial romance is an elaborated, honest and humane way, from the kiss Stig gives to the chair on which the teacher Viola sits, through their affair, up to the the point where her husband discovers the affair yet still remains his friend. No prejudice, no taunting, just a simple display of two people in love. On the other hand, in another subplot, Stig is also seduced by teenage Lisbet, a virgin who takes her clothes off in front of him and leads him to a bed, even preparing a rag under it in case that she bleeds too much during her first time. Despite erotic scenes, Widerberg avoided the lascivious and created a sophisticated achievement, whereas the end can be interpreted in a lot of ways - even that the teacher wanted to teach the hero to love women the way she wanted to, not the way he usually would. "All Things Fair" was nominated for an Oscar as best foreign language film.


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