Review: 'Everlasting Moments'
An emotionally resonant story about a Swedish mother whose passion for photography offers her an escape from an oppressive marriage.
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By this time we have been well prepared for Maria's transformation. Her photography, which began as a lark under the doting guidance of Sebastian (Jesper Christensen), the camera store owner, expands into a self-defining preoccupation – a passion (in spite of herself). It's also a source of much-needed income, but even her commissioned group pictures and Christmas portraits seem like emanations of something thrilling and profound within her. As it must be true of all great photographers, Maria at times seems dumbstruck by the beauty she has brought forth on film. (The images that emerge from nothingness in her darkroom have a blooming, magical efflorescence.) Without her entirely being aware of it, Maria intuits that her artistry is also her salvation.Skip to next paragraph
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Troell doesn't sentimentalize Maria's aspirations, which are, in many ways, unfulfilled. Nor does he simplify the psychological intricacies of her union with Sigfrid, whom she stays with against all apparent reason. Theirs is a marriage of almost Strindbergian complication. The real love story in "Everlasting Moments" is the unspoken one between Maria and Sebastian, her true soul mate. He can't make her follow him, for to do so would go against every familial instinct she has. Their parting, as he dawdles out of her life forever down a country road, unaware that her eyes are on him, is sorrowful beyond words.
Troell is one of the world's master directors. I have been championing his movies for more than 30 years, ever since I saw his great two-part epic "The Emigrants" and "The New Land." Only a handful of his films have received theatrical distribution in America, though. That such a great artist, the equal of his fellow countryman Ingmar Bergman, should be relegated, for the most part, to the film festival circuit, is a cultural crime. His 1996 "Hamsun," starring Max von Sydow as the disgraced Norwegian Nobel Prize-winning novelist Knut Hamsun, who sided with the Nazis, is probably the least-known masterpiece of the past 20 years. And yet, against all odds and the vagaries of the movie business, Troell, at 78, continues to turn out films that will last for as long as there are movies. No wonder he feels such a deep connection to Maria in "Everlasting Moments." The film is one hero's salute to another. Grade: A (Not rated.)