I list ‘En kärlekshistoria’ aka A Swedish Love Story as an obscure film in my bio but this is slightly misleading because I think it’s considered a classic in Sweden, but I only discovered it by chance. Clips of the film were featured in the video for ‘Round the Moon’ by Summer Camp (who make really good teen film inspired music) and showed teenagers wearing leather jackets, smoking and riding motorbikes. Now, rebellious teenagers are a favourite theme of mine so I was delighted to learn that it was an actual film and bought it immediately. What I found wasn’t a simple tale of teenagers really annoying their parents by angst ridden: it is a poignant love letter to being young and free along with a sad reminder of how adult life can erode these qualities. The film follows Anneka and par (and initially their group of friends) all dressed in gorgeous sixties style. They each catch the others attention while smoking endless cigarettes (which seems weird now given that they’re about thirteen but was probably normal then) and become a couple. The film follows them through kisses, long, gentle hugs, quiet walks in the forest and eventual fights. They have hope- although there are challenges, they are optimistic and watching them fall in love is an amazingly sweet experience.
Then their parents enter and things become darker. They have unsatisfactory, difficult relationships which fills their house with tension. Anneka’s father wants to live vicariously through his daughter while her aunt is in hospital at the beginning of the film (hinted suicide) Par’s grandfather, resident of the same hospital, has a moving scene early on where he cries that ‘life is difficult for lonely people’. The film climaxes with a disastrous dinner party at which the two parents meet with horrible consequences. It’s hard not to imagine that the two teenagers will eventually end just the same way: bored and disillusioned.
Despite all this, they remain together! Although they might not stay together forever, there is still hope. Although this film is slow and the parts focussing on the adults aren’t that interesting sometimes, it’s still worth watching for: a) pretty scenery. Each scene is like a painting and that’s not even mentioning the gorgeous sixties aesthetic b)it’s a perfect coming of age film in many ways so if you like teen angst and emotions, it’s great and C) a beautiful love story that saves the film. We care about the characters and cheer them on through the scary and difficult adult world. I think the reason I love it so much is because despite the fact it was made nearly 50 years ago in Sweden, a country I don’t know much about, like the best films, the feelings it displays are universal.
By Rosa Burgoyne