Popular Music from Vittula (Contemporary World Cinema)
2004 - Sweden
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DIRECTOR: Reza Bagher
CAST: Niklas Ulfvarson, Max Enderfors,Tommy Vallikari,Andreas af Enehielm, Jarmo Makinen, Mikael Niemi.
Based on first-time author Mikael Niemi’s 2000 blockbuster novel—one of the most successful ever published in Sweden( a half million copies in paperback alone) – the semi-autobiograpical coming-of-age story is about two kids, Matti and Niila, who grow up in the northernmost tip of Sweden in the 60’s and 70’s and, having discovered the Beatles, want to become rock stars. They also discover girls and guitars, but harsh reality, a conservative environment and stern parents create crucial conflicts. In adapting the floating time-warp Niemi story, Iranian-born direcor Reza Bagher opts for a linear approach, with imaginative fantasy inserts, with a brief prolog in which the adult Matti spreads the ashes of his friend atop a mountain. Life in rural Tournadalen, where Finnish border culture is as pervasive as Swedish, has its explicit raunchy and hilarious side while its religious fundamentalism provokes chilling confrontations between fathers beating the sin out of their sons, between Niila and his brutal,pious father, Isak(Makinen). Relations between fathers and sons have been a theme in Reza Bagher’s filmography (features Wings of Glass,Capricciosa). As an electronics student in Stockholm,he opted for a film career by chance, when at a life-change moment he turned on black-and-white television and saw Bo Widerberg’s Raven’s End, which he later saw 20 times He considers it the best Swedish film ever made. -Al Milgrom
PRODUCER: Joachim Stridsberg
SCREENWRITER: Reza Bagher,Eric Norberg
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Nordstrom
EDITOR: Fredrik Morheden
PRINT SOURCE: Swedish Film Institute