• Sweden edition
 
Swede of the Week
Mikael Marcimain: 'I've never made a Palme film'

Mikael Marcimain: 'I've never made a Palme film'

Published: 03 Jan 2013 17:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Jan 2013 17:41 GMT+01:00

In The Local's ongoing series profiling Swedish newsmakers, we turn this week's spotlight on filmmaker Mikael Marcimain, director of Call Girl, a controversial film which earned 11 Swedish film award nominations, including best picture and best director.

Marcimain has called the film a "classic political paranoia thriller" inspired by events related to a scandal that rattled Sweden's political establishment in the late 1970s.

Then-Justice Minister Lennart Geijer stood accused of buying sex from an under-aged prostitute in an episode dubbed the Geijer Affair (Geijeraffären).

And while Marcimain had made no secret that the film was inspired by real-life events, he has struggled to understand why his latest work has prompted such an angry reaction from relatives of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister in power at the time and who defended Geijer against the allegations.

“We have made a feature film, a work of fiction. A thriller. This is not a documentary. It is a work of art," he told the TT news agency in October upon hearing that Palme's son planned on reporting the film for slander.

Despite the controversy, the Swedish Film Institute gave Marcimain something to cheer about on Thursday, showering it with 11 nominations for the annual Guldbagge film awards, nearly twice the number of nominations of the second most-nominated film.

Among the nominations were nods in several heavyweight categories, including best picture, best screenplay, best actress, best cinematography, and best director.

Call Girl, Marcimain's first feature-length film, has already received festival accolades, picking up the International Critics' Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, as well as the audience choice award at the Stockholm Film Festival in November.

In December, it was recognized for its production design at a festival in Turin because, according to the jury, it "actually made us believe it was a film from the 1970s".

And a best picture or director award at the Guldbagge ceremony later this month would mark a major milestone for the 42-year-old filmmaker, who was previously recognized in 2008 with a culture prize from daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) for his work on several popular television mini-series.

"He has established himself as a director with a firm grasp on the medium: courageous, creative, subtle, intelligent, sensitive, and visually driven," the jury wrote in handing Marcimain the award.

"He's the best Swedish filmmaker who still hasn't made a single feature film."

Marcimain studied at the Stockholm film school before starting his career as a director's assistant at Sveriges Television (SVT).

He was one of several directors who worked on the mini-series Skeppsholmen in 2002, before gaining notoriety for a mini-series on Sweden's "Laser Man" in 2005 and an award-winning mini-series portraying the lives of four young people from Gothenburg in the early 1970s.

"It was a magic journey that will be hard to beat," he told DN in 2008 of Upp till kamp (How Soon Is Now?), explaining that he had to fight with SVT to ensure the series consisted of 90-minute, rather than 60-minute episodes.

Speaking with the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper in December, Marcimain compared Call Girl to Hollywood political thrillers like All the President's Men and Three Days of the Condor, but admitted he took a bit more artistic licence in his own film.

"We've tightened and borrowed quite a bit, and sure we've been disrespectful. But it's a fictional film. That's something that's crystal clear for me," he said.

Commenting further on the accusations of slander from Mårten Palme, who in December reported Call Girl to the Chancellor of Justice (Justitieskanslern) for slander, Marcimain explained he had no intention of singling out the former prime minster in the film.

"We took inspiration and references from that period in Sweden to shape the film's characters, of which the prime minister is one," he told SvD.

"And he acts according to the script. Powerful men are symbols and they chose to hide a sensitive matter. At the cost of these young girls."

Marcimain said the media are mostly to blame for characterizing his move as a "Palme film".

"I've never made a 'Palme film'," he explained.

"The film is so clearly about the girls' journey."

Even before the nominations were announced on Thursday, Marcimain made it clear he had "no regrets" about the film.

"It looks just as we wanted it to, true to the artistic vision," he told SvD.

"I'm very proud."

Take a look at our past Swedes of the Week.

David Landes

Follow David Landes on Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Advertisement:
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

718
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com