Athlone Film Clubs finishes its spring season on Tuesday April 27 at 8pm in the Dean Crowe Theatre with the compelling Swedish masterpiece, Everlasting Moments.
In this breathtaking period drama from renowned Swedish director Jan Troell, a woman experiences an artistic awakening after being introduced to photography. Based on real life events and told with delicacy and feeling, Everlasting Moments slowly builds into a memorable salute to a remarkable life.
Agneta Ulstater Troell, the director's wife, based the novel she wrote, and its subsequent screen adaptation, on the life of her own ancestor, Maria Larsson, a simple woman married to a charming but hopeless redneck, who became a photographer at a time when no woman would have dreamt of embracing such a profession and no man, certainly not the kind of working class lout she had for a husband, would condone it.
Emerging behind the story of the married couple and their seven children, there is the image of Sweden itself in the early 1900s assuming its capitalistic identity, while labour unrest is erupting all over the place, socialism and anarchism are blossoming in the shadow of strikes, and public demonstrations and strict protestant traditions still overrule any thoughts of women's rights or common sense. Over it all, there is Jan Troell eye behind the camera, wrapping it all up in splendid monochromatic images, a perfect choice to portray working class life of that time, also allowing some stunning visual effects, such as showing a girl walking away into the frozen wintry mist and disappearing in front of one's eyes.
Maria (Heiskanen ), who got her camera in a lottery, ignored it for years, far too busy working her fingers to the bone, first as a cleaning woman and then as a seamstress. Married to Sigfrid (Persbrandt ), a former sailor fond of drink and women, frustrated by his own inadequacies and often venting his temper on his wife, she had far too much on her plate to think about photography at all. One day she tries to sell the camera to the local photographer (Christensen ), who insists she should try it first before getting rid of it and offers her some useful tips. This is the beginning of a beautiful, platonic friendship which Sigfrid hates and distrusts, his wife's hobby pointing out his own limitations, which went unmentioned before, for fear of his wrath. But Maria is a tough woman, with every new crisis she stands up to him a bit more, though to the bewilderment of her oldest daughter, Maja (Ohrvall ), who narrates the story, never does she muster the courage to leave him. Even for such a strong person as Maria, flaunting traditions to the wind beyond a certain point, was not an option.
Exquisitely shot, Everlasting Moments was nominated for the 2009 Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes.
Doors open at 7.30pm for a pre-screening complimentary wine reception in the theatre bar. Temporary membership is only €7.