Centering on the lives of various people in a Stockholm apartment building during a single day, "Days Like This" has been compared locally with Robert Altman's "Short Cuts." That's an overstatement, but pic still has enough commercial and artistic merits to turn it into quite a sleeper success since opening in Sweden in November.

Centering on the lives of various people in a Stockholm apartment building during a single day, “Days Like This” has been compared locally with Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts.” That’s an overstatement, but pic still has enough commercial and artistic merits to turn it into quite a sleeper success since opening in Sweden in November. Festival exposure could trigger international sales for this ensembler.

Film is set in a Stockholm suburb, where Evert (Christian Fiedler), a vacuum cleaner salesman, makes his rounds through the apartment building, visiting and studying the different inhabitants. They include the restless Leif (Kjell Bergqvist) and his suffering wife, Lena (Carina M. Johansson); childless couple Malin (Lia Boysen) and Martin (Staffan Kihlbom); elderly, lonely Marta (Bojan Westin); and young couple Michel (Fares Fares) and Elin (Josefin Peterson).

After Evert has finished with each apartment, and the door closes after him, the camera stays behind to let the audience get better acquainted with the tenants. Malin and Martin are quarreling. Leif makes an embarrassing pass at a beautiful hairstylist, Sara (Eva Rose). And Michel and Elin nervously wait for her parents (Eva Fritjofson, Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl) to show up for dinner.

Despite pic’s tight running time, director/co-writer Mikael Hafstrom manages to draw his protagonists — who he appears to like despite their shortcomings — in some detail. Most interesting are Evert and his dying wife, Siv (Ulla-Britt Norrman). To enliven her last hours, Evert tells stories about the people in the building — although it isn’t clear whether he is making everything up. Aided by a terrific cast, Hafstrom has made a tragic but humorous film that casts a sympathetic eye on the characters. Kudos also go to art director Gert Wibe for his painstaking re-creation of the realistic apartments and ace d.p. Peter Mokrosinski, who does an excellent job as always.

Days Like This

Sweden

Production

A Sonet Film release (in Sweden) of an Indiana Film production, in association with Film i Vast, Trollhattan Film and SVT Drama Gothenburg. (International sales: Trust Film, Copenhagen.) Produced by Anna Anthony. Directed by Mikael Hafstrom. Screenplay, Hans Gunnarsson, Hafstrom, based on Gunnarsson's book "Februari."

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Peter Mokrosinski; editor, Darek Hodor; music, Magnus Frykberg, Kristoffer Wallman; art director, Gert Wibe; costume designer, Marie Flyckt; sound (DTS stereo), Niclas Merits, Anders Billing. Reviewed at Rigoletto, Stockholm, Nov. 12, 2001. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Kjell Bergqvist, Christian Fiedler, Lia Boysen, Fares Fares, Eva Fritjofson, Carina M. Johansson, Staffan Kihlbom, Ulla-Britt Norrman, Josefin Peterson, Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl, Bojan Westin, Eva Rose.
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