Swedish film: quantity or quality?

Almost everyone is on vacation, and it's been a slow week in the culture pages. One paper's entire staff decided to take a week off, and it seems only the book reviewers managed to get their articles in on time. It seems that only rock never sleeps.

Reports from Ystad assure us that things are going well with the slapdash creation of thirteen films based on the ‘Kurt Wallander’ crime novel series slated to be completed within two years. ‘Before the Frost’, the first of the films, will be made in seven weeks. It’s hard to imagine how a decent film could possibly be made so quickly, but DN dug up the producers’ secret: buddying up with the local police force.

Ewa Gun Westford, speaking for the Ystad police, explained: “We’ve shown all of the actors the police station, and we give advice so that the police and their work look right in the movie. It’s fun to be able to give society something more than just crime prevention.”

Articles on the Wallander filming also brought us this week’s best new place-name. Trollywood is no longer the only moviemaking reference point in Sweden – now you can dazzle your friends by casually allowing ‘HollYstad’ to roll off your tongue.

Discussion continues on ‘Cecilia and the Monkey King’, the opera now showing at Drottningholmteatern. For those who haven’t been following, the age-old debate as to the relative importance of words versus music is being played out in ‘Cecilia’, in which the players sing in, well, gibberish.

Aftonbladet’s review this week asked, is this worth the bother? The conclusion was mixed. “The scenic variety is huge and the musical fantasy flows, but you don’t understand what’s happening.” The reviewer had nothing but nice things to say about the actors’ voices, so one hopes they’ll have no trouble finding work where they’ll be able to sing using a real language.

The Swedish festival season continued – with a few hitches. The Kalas tour, currently in its eighteenth year, had a rough start. Kalas brings Swedish Music Now to the hinterlands each year; this year’s tour includes Marit Bergman, Thomas Di Leva, Backyard Babies, Infinite Mass, and Melody Club. The tour was to kick off in Kalmar, but wind and rain led to a cancellation. Örebro’s concert was delayed by rain. Reviews (for the most part thus far theoretical) argue that though each piece of this tour is greater than the whole, overall it’s probably worth the money – for 350 crowns you’re likely to find something you like. Check the weather before you buy your ticket.

Reviews of the Peace & Love festival in Borlänge were mixed. Motörhead headlined; in an interview with singer Lemmy Kilmister, we found the secret to the 29-year-old band’s success: “Young people look for things that sound young, and they have found us.”

Not everyone rocked so hard- the reviewer from Dagens Nyheter was not impressed with José Gonzáles’s live set (presumably as nothing caught fire), but in the end we found that “the spirit of rock lives, and not just in Lemmy’s unnatural figure”.

Cecilia och apkungen

To July 24


Kalas tour

July 16, Helsingborg; July 17, Göteborg; July 23, Lysekil; July 24, Malmö; July 25, Karlskrona; July 30, Varberg; July 31, Norrköping; August 6, Karlstad; August 7, Stockholm