wed 20/09/2017

Sweden

Black Lake, BBC Four review – Nordic blanc falls flat

What would Saturday nights be without BBC Four’s regular subtitle-fests? Black Lake, their new Swedish import, has nothing in the way of originality to recommend it, but its tale of a haunted ski resort somewhere out towards the Norwegian border may...

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The 'self-experimenter': Howard Brenton on Strindberg in crisis

I wrote The Blinding Light to try to understand the mental and spiritual crisis that August Strindberg suffered in February 1896. Deeply disturbed, plagued by hallucinations, he holed up in various hotel rooms in Paris, most famously in the Hotel...

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Prom 61 review: Fleming, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Oramo - heliotropic ecstasies

No sunshine without shadows was one possible theme rippling through this diva sandwich of a Prom. Even Richard Strauss's chaste nymph Daphne, achieving longed-for metamorphosis as a tree, finds darkness among the roots; and though Renée "The...

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theartsdesk at Bergman Week - finding the spirit of the great Swedish filmmaker

In his biography The Magic Lantern, Ingmar Bergman recalls his first encounter with the Swedish island of Fårö, in 1960, when location scouting for his next film, Through A Glass Darkly. A last, desperate bid by the film’s producers to find a...

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CD: Shitkid - Fish

Finally, a new band that lives up to a fine name and great cover art. Then again, Shitkid do a whole lot more than that. Their music sounds like the antithesis of contemporary chart-pop, which is refreshing, but even better, also doesn’t do the...

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Blu-ray: My Life as a Dog

My Life as a Dog is a bittersweet coming-of-age yarn which took Sweden and the art cinema circuit by storm on its release in 1985. Anton Glanzelius plays Ingemar, the 12-year-old narrator with a pixie-faced charm; his mother has TB and is exhausted...

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Midnight Sun finale review - 'terminal silliness, wholesale slaughter'

So here’s the thing: a heavily pregnant woman is hanging by her ankles above a raging torrent. Two teens, one with a broken arm, are stuck down a well. And 15 miners, deep below ground, take refuge from a fire in an emergency chamber, unaware it has...

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Midnight Sun, Sky Atlantic

You can just hear Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, the clever-sick Swedes behind Midnight Sun, cackling as they cooked up the pre-title sequence to the first episode of their new series. A grizzled man in a grey suit wakes up to find himself strapped...

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CD: Zara Larsson - So Good

For many, music is simply background, blurring tinnily from phones, sense-candy to “Like”, swipe and scroll alongside Pokemon and Snapchat. Music is content, filling digital space in the same way Polyfilla fills dents in walls. Zara Larsson...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter

What's a world-renowned mezzo-soprano in her middle years to do? Slimline of voice, tall and handsome in person with piercing and slightly intimidating blue eyes, Stockholm-born Anne Sofie von Otter isn't likely to sing what is known in the operatic...

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Blu-ray: The Emigrants/The New Land

The Emigrants and The New Land have to be seen. In each, the story is gripping, the acting marvellous and the depiction of the period setting evocative and flawless. Any of these aspects would be reason enough to see a film, but the clincher is...

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DVD: Ingrid Bergman - In Her Own Words

Ever nursed an immoderate fondness for Ingrid Bergman? This bio-documentary is the home entertainment of your dreams, an entrancing, melancholy memoir in letters, diaries and above all personal footage. Director Stig Björkman has earned the trust of...

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