This fictive one-act imagines a final confrontation between Klercker and Magnusson some years later, when the former has been effectively “flushed down the cinematic sewer” and begs his onetime friend for a comeback chance. At Magnusson’s company headquarters, Klercker (Bjorn Granath) is at first cocky, goading, full of resentment. Major tippling from the office liquor cabinet does not improve his manners, though it does unleash a series of humiliating personal recollections — and a desperate new-project “pitch” (based, oddly, on Sade’s “Justine”) that turns alternately pleading and threatening.
Magnusson (Ingvar Kjellson) says barely a word during Klercker’s long rant, which recalls certain Eugene O’Neill plays in its increasingly blotto mix of bile, self-laceration and pathos. A final, ghastly “joke” turns the tables on Klercker’s dourly unsympathetic audience, while sealing protag’s career doom.
This emotional arc is showy and engrossing, if never truly surprising; the performances are perfectly judged. Bergman is credited as “director,” Mans Reutersward as “director for TV,” an apt hierarchy since all action takes place on one stage set, with nothing especially filmic about the just-adequate vid translation, largely tight close-ups and tinted sepia.
The drama, about 45 minutes in length, is preceded by a 10-minute documentary about early Swedish cinema and Klercker in particular. Excerpted clips from latter’s productions suggest an energetic, thematically diverse filmography — ranging from broad comedy to naturalistic drama — in need of further rediscovery.