A list of Swedish films that doesn’t feature the legend of legends Ingmar Bergman is a huge challenge. The motivation for this list is to give you an insight to other directors, but also to other types of genres that weren’t in Bergman’s repertoire.
Although the feeling and intention of Swedish cinema is quite the same, by exploiting human feelings in a philosophical manner, this list shows you other genres that are quite interesting and can enlighten you to a more vast universe in the Swedish film industry.
This list features several collaborations. All of those collaborations are featured in the official Swedish film database.
15. Let The Right One In (Thomas Alfredson, 2008)
It’s perhaps one of the most commercially successful productions on this list, and it’s positioned in 15th place, mostly to my personal taste. It may come as a surprise for a huge hit such as this to be in such a low position, but I was never a big fan of horror-fantasy movies, even if they exploit real themes such as love, companionship and passion.
It received several awards and nominations and became one of the greatest hits of the modern Swedish film industry. It’s mostly a romance-horror movie, which explores the love between a vampire girl and a ostracized young boy.
The movie used several new techniques, mainly of editing and cinematography, which put this movie as a modern reference for filmmakers and actors around the world. The performances and soundtrack are some of the other great aspects of this production, which was released in 2008.
14. Fucking Åmål (Lukas Moodysson, 1998)
“Fucking Åmål” was a polemic output from the get-go, mainly due to its controversial title, receiving lots of negative buzz from studios, politicians and film festivals. The movie approaches a taboo theme, which even today has skeptics turning down their seat,in order to avoid such themes to be discussed onscreen, mainly on cinema screens.
The film tells the story of two lesbians who are quite different from one another and with completely different lifestyles. One is popular with other lady friends and men; the other is quite the opposite, unpopular with lady friends and she doesn’t even want to think about men. This latter girl spends most of her time thinking about the first girl mentioned above, despite their differences.
The unpopular girl seems to have a love-hate relationship with her loved one, who in the beginning ignores her presence and mocks her intentions, and only much later respects and winds up accepting her intentions.
It’s one of Moodysson’s most polemic and controversial outputs, and one of the most talked about at the time of its release.
13. Lilja 4-ever (Lukas Moodysson, 2002)
This is another movie that deals with taboos, such as human trafficking and sexual slavery/exploitation. The film is a collaboration between the Danish and Sweden industries, with the film actually being featured in the Swedish film database.
“Lilja 4-ever” was moderately awarded and nominated, winning the best film and best actress awards in some film festivals. Lilja is a misunderstood young woman who isn’t loved, or at least doesn’t seem to be, by her closest friends and family. She has a disruptive relationship with her mother and the father isn’t present in the equation.
Her only friend is a much younger kid who has a seemingly strong passion for this girl. In the end, Lilja is caught in a web of deceit and illusion that provokes a tragic ending for both friends.
12. Häxan (Benjamin Christensen, 1922)
“Häxan” is the second and last silent movie on this list. It’s similar to “Körkarlen” in terms of influence and dynamism in presenting its storyline, and it’s another film collaboration with the Danish film industry. Again, this movie is also featured in the Swedish film database, represented by its official governmental institution.
The movie is presented as a documentary, but dramatized between sequences to represent the intention of the director. By that manner, this may be considered one of the first fake documentaries in film industry history.
Although the filming technique and actors’ performances aren’t at all fantastic, “Häxan” is still a big reference for cinema professionals and viewed as one of the most influential horror films in the industry.
11. Jägarna aka The Hunters (Kjell Sundvall, 1996)
This is one of the major successes featured on this list. It’s another mystery/crime movie, similar in style to “Män som hatar kvinnor”. The movie’s plot centers on a police officer who returns to his hometown to discover that his brother might be involved in a major police case.
This movie had a sequel, released 15 years later in 2011, and was adapted several times into other languages. It’s genial in terms of technique, and story-wise, is actually quite surprising and fantastic.
It’s a great thriller filled with great mystery all around, and one of the greatest movies of the last 20 years, at least in the Swedish film industry.
10. En kärlekshistoria aka A Swedish Love Story (Roy Andersson, 1970)
Young love is the subject of this film, which takes us back to the youthful days of passion and uncommitted love, where innocence and friendship reign supreme. Roy Andersson is mixed full of emotions and little surprises, exploiting the love of two pre-teens from different families; one is poor and the other is rich.
The movie is also an exploitation of contemporary society in Sweden; it mostly deals with social status and differentiation among those who have more to live on. The young man is a rebel, totally different from the right and well-positioned young girl, both passionate for each other and anxious to discover one of life’s beauties.
9. Force Majeure aka Turist (Ruben Östlund, 2014)
“Turist“ is definitely one of the top movies of 2014, and for that reason had to be included on this list, also to diversify the scope of releases on this Swedish list. It deals with, may I say, a difficult theme, mainly regarding close relationships.
It has that psychological component that I love in a movie, and exploits those characteristics in a mostly dramatic but also comedic way, making it easier to interpret.
It deals with suspicion and deceit, following the marital tension resulting from an avalanche during which the husband, named Tomas, is believed by his wife to have prioritized his own escape over the safety of his family, resulting in a series of doubtful ordeals to the healthy relationship between this couple.
It won several awards in the most important categories, and was also mentioned in several publications and by several critics as one of the top movies in 2014. The feature of mixing both genres, combining both styles of script but also demanding more from its actors, makes “Turist” a true mandatory film to watch on this list.