A Summer Tale

Produced by Lars Jonsson. Executive producer, Peter Aalbaeck Jensen.

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.

A Summer Tale

(SWEDEN-DENMARK)

Production: A Sonet Film release (in Sweden) of a Memfis Film, Film i Vast, SVT Drama Gothenburg (Sweden)/Zentropa Entertainments (Denmark) production, with participation of TV1000. (International sales: Trust Film, Stockholm.)

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