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A Witch in the Family

Produced by Lars Blomgren, Borje Hansson.

Produced by Lars Blomgren, Borje Hansson.

Directed by Harald Hamrell. Screenplay, Johan Bogaeus, based on the novel “Maria Bleknos” by Ulf Stark. Camera (color), Olof Johnson; editor, Michal Leszczylowski; music, Adam Norden; art director, Lasse Westfelt; costume designer, Charlotta Gustafsson. Original title: En haxa i familjen. Reviewed at Rigoletto, Stockholm, Jan. 13, 2000. Running time: 84 MIN.

With: Johan Rheborg, Tintin Anderzon, Margreth Weivers, Karin Bogaeus, Rebecca Scheja, Fredrik Unger, Anna Lindholm, Annika Hallin.

Awell-made but somewhat repetitive chiller for kids, “A Witch in the Family” has the potential for modest B.O. success in Scandi theaters, but its real future lies in tube and video sales. In his second feature, director Harald Hamrell (“The Bay of Winter”) shows skill at handling small kids, getting them to act and sound natural.

Simple story centers on 8-year-old Maria (Karin Bogaeus), whose younger brother, Lillen (Fredrik Unger), is a pest. When her new friend Makka (Rebecca Scheja) says she has a crystal ball that makes wishes come true, Maria hopes for her kid brother to disappear. Next day, Maria’s parents hire a new baby-sitter, an old woman called Gerda (Margreth Weivers, excellent as always), and the two girls suspect she is a witch — summoned by the crystal ball to snatch Lillen away to have him for dinner. The continual return to the big question of whether Gerda is a broom-rider makes the film feel repetitive after a while, at least for adults. For kids, however, this likely will not be a problem.

A Witch in the Family

(SWEDEN)

Production: A Sonet Film release of a Filmlance Intl. production, in association with Sonet Film, the Chimney Pot, BV Film (Norway), Yellow Cottage (Norway), Bogaeus Manuskript and Harald Hamrell Filmproduktion. (International sales: BV Intl., Norway).

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