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The Armwrestler from Solitude

Women armwrestlers aren't usually imagined as attractive, slim young Swedes -- but world champion Heidi Andersson, "The Armwrestler From Solitude," isn't the norm in her field. Co-helmers Lisa Munthe and Helen Ahlsson take a straightforward, unprobing look at the 23-year-old Andersson, focusing on the lead-up to a championship meet in Canada and her tight relationship with her dad-manager-trainer.

Women armwrestlers aren’t usually imagined as attractive, slim young Swedes — but world champion Heidi Andersson, “The Armwrestler From Solitude,” isn’t the norm in her field. Co-helmers Lisa Munthe and Helen Ahlsson take a straightforward, unprobing look at the 23-year-old Andersson, focusing on the lead-up to a championship meet in Canada and her tight relationship with her dad-manager-trainer. Already popular with Scandi fests, enjoyable docu has a future mostly with Euro cable outlets, for which a shorter version is available.

Solitude is a translation of Ensamheten, the name of Andersson’s hometown, pop. 16, in the heart of Lapland. All residents are family members, and while helmers show a loving home environment, some discussion of the issues involved in growing up in an isolated, tight-knit community would have enriched their treatment. Equally absent is a sense of Andersson’s non-sporting goals; and merely touched on is the pervasive, though relatively gentle, machismo displayed by the rugged “men of the north,” especially at store demos where Andersson easily beats all male challengers. Still, docu’s empowering message, plus Andersson’s natural charm, maintains interest.

The Armwrestler from Solitude

Sweden

Production: A Migma Film presentation of an Arthaus release (in Norway) of a Migma Film, Motlys production. Produced by Helen Ahlsson. Executive producer, Anita Oxburgh. Co-producer, Yngve Saether. Directed, written by Lisa Munthe, Helen Ahlsson.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Ewa Cederstam, Ahlsson, Simon Pramsten; editor, Anders Teigen; music, Joakim Haggstrom. Reviewed at Tromso Film Festival (Made in Sweden), Norway, Jan. 23, 2005. (Also in Gothenburg Film Festival.) Original title: Armbryterskan fran Ensamheten. Running time: 75 MIN.

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