Three Swedish classics are being screened at this year’s edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, the world’s leading archive festival. Mauritz Stiller’s Erotikon is screening outdoors at the Piazza Maggiore to musical accompaniment by Matti Bye and his ensemble. Also on offer are Victor Sjöström’s 100-year-old film The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen), and Mai Zetterling’s controversial Sixties film Night Games (Nattlek).
Mauritz Stiller’s Erotikon (1920), a romantic comedy about modernity, worldly people and polygamy in early 1920s Stockholm, is regarded as one of the leading Swedish silent films. In Bologna the film is presented in a new, 35 mm print, with authentically applied colour tints. The open-air screening takes place on Thursday 22 July at the beautiful Piazza Maggiore, the Renaissance central square that attracts thousands of movie watchers. Matti Bye has composed the accompanying music and will be performing with his ensemble: Matti Bye (piano), Laura Naukkarinen (piano, voice and electronic effects), Leo Svensson (cello and music saw), and Kristin Bolstad (foley artist). The film will be introduced by Jon Wengström, Senior Curator of Archival Film Collections at the Swedish Film Institute, along with Jeanne Pommeau from the National Film Archive in Prague (collaboration partner on the colour restoration of Erotikon) and Mariann Lewinsky, Curator for Il Cinema Ritrovato.
The festival will also see the international première of the Swedish Film Institute’s digital restoration of Night Games. Mai Zetterling’s powerful drama, starring Ingrid Thulin and Keve Hjelm, caused uproar upon its original première at the Venice Film Festival in 1966, where the Oedipus theme and depiction of upper-class decadence led to it being regarded as obscene. Today, Night Games has been vindicated as one of the most uncompromising Swedish films of the 1960s.
The third Swedish classic being screened in Bologna is Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Carriage from 1921, to celebrate the film’s centenary. The terrifying and sad story of drunkard David Holm has never ceased to fascinate. On New Year’s Eve David meets the ghostly driver of Death’s carriage who has to drive around collecting dead people. Based on the Selma Lagerlöf novel Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness!, the film opened the gateway to Hollywood for Sjöström, and later inspired such filmmakers as Ingmar Bergman and Stanley Kubrick. The screening of The Phantom Carriage will be introduced by Jon Wengström, and Matti Bye will be performing his self-composed music with Leo Svensson.
Il Cinema Ritrovato is an annual festival that brings together visitors from archives and cinematheques around the world. The 2021 event runs 20–27 July. Read more here.
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