Produced by Lars Jonsson. Executive producer, Peter Aalbaeck Jensen.
Directed by Ulf Malmros. Screenplay, Malmros, Lars Johansson. Camera (color), Mats Olofsson; editors, Michal Leszczylowski, Fredrik Abrahamsen; music, Dan Sundquist, Henrik Medquist; art director, Louise Gylling; costume designer, Jaana Fomin. Reviewed at Astoria, Stockholm, Feb. 16, 2000. Original Swedish title: Den basta sommaren. Running time: 91 MIN.
With: Kjell Bergqvist, Cecilia Nilsson, Brasse Brannstrom, Rebecka Scheja, Anastasios Soulis, Marcus Hasselborg, Gachugu Makini, Goran Thorell, Ann Petren.
A comedy-drama about four outsiders who learn to appreciate life and love again, “A Summer Tale” is a slice of nostalgia that recalls “My Life as a Dog.” This pleasant enough film by writer-director Ulf Malmros could generate interest among Eurotube buyers.
Two young orphans, Marten (Anastasios Soulis) and Annika (Rebecka Scheja), arrive at a village in the summer of ’58 to stay with grumpy, middle-aged Yngve (Kjell Bergqvist, excellent), an undertaker with a small farm. It’s clear Yngve still has a lot of life and love in him, but finds it impossible to cut loose. The kids decide to help him meet a woman, and select lonely teacher Miss Svanstrom (Cecilia Nilsson). Enter Sven (Brasse Brannstrom), the village’s richest man, who hates Yngve for once stealing his wife and is now a broken, bitter man, dying of cancer. Weakest element of the movie is Brannstrom’s character, who isn’t given the screen time to become interesting or threatening enough. Malmros, who’s made “Have a Wonderful Life” (1992) and several well-received TV series, turns in a straight, realistically told movie that’s entertaining but could have been much more.