Pojken och Draken (1962)
7.0 Raven's End (1963)
Love 65 (1965)
Heja Roland (1966)
Elvira Madigan (1967)
The White Game (1968)
7.0 Adalen 31 (1969)
A Mother with Two Children Expecting Her Third (1970)
Joe Hill (1971)
The Man on the Roof (1976)
En Handelsresandes Dod (1979)
Linje Lusta (1981)
Tagning Rott och Svart (1982)
The Man from Majorca (1984)
The Serpent's Way (1986)
En Far (1988)
The Wild Duck (1989)
Efter Forestallningen (1992)
Tagning Alla ar Aldre an Jag (1994)
All Things Fair (1995)
Bo Widerberg (Sweden, 1930), already a novelist, began making films in the
style of the French nouvelle vague that sounded like antagonizing the
dominating Scandinavian school of Ingmar Bergman and his followers.
His early films were more focused on the social aspects of middle-class lives
than on the private aspects; less abstract and more realistic.
After the TV movie Pojken och Draken (1962), co-directed with Jan Troell, Widerberg made Barnvagnen (1963), about the conflict between a young couple and their parents; Kvarteret Korpen/ Raven's End (1963), about the frustration of a young man raised in an anemic working-class neighborhood and his escape to the big city; Karlek/ Love 65 (1965), both erotic and existential, his most "Bergman-ian" film, about the crisis between a director and his wife; and Heja Roland (1966), a lively comedy in which a young employee working in the advertising business revolts against the cynical methods of the profession. These are all realistic social stories.
His first commercial success was Elvira Madigan (1967), based on the real, famous, tragic love story of a Danish circus performer, in which two lovers (a poor girl and a rich aristocrat) are persecuted until they commit suicide.
His masterpiece Adalen 31/ Adalen Riots (1969), based on a historical event, returns to his favorite working-class milieu with a historical epic influenced by Soviet social realism. Widerberg mixes populist spirit, lyrical tone and baroque visuals.
The mother takes Anna to have a routine check while her father is busy devising a strategy to fight the workers.
The townfolks watch in desbelief (and singing the "Internationale") as the train unloads dozens of soldiers, summoned by the police chief to protect the strikebreakers. Nisse has finally mastered the art of hypnosis and manages to hypnotize a pretty girl. He then undresses her carefully. Harlan, his wife and Kjell join the demonstrators stationed in front of the building protected by the soldiers. Harlan uses his wife's mirror to annoy the soldiers, reflecing the sun into their eyes. Many children imitate him until the soldiers turn their back on the crowd and the crowd declares victory and walks away. But they return, in larger number, and Nisse is forced to abandon the naked girl to join the band that accompanies them with communist anthems. Hundreds of men march solemnly towards the barracks of the strikebreakers. The soldiers have prepared machine guns. Unbeknownst to the protesters the county board has ruled in their favor and a telegram has been just received with the order to dismiss the strikebreakers. The telegraph man walks in front of them on his way to deliver the telegram. The soldiers order the protesters to stop, and they start shooting. Harald and Nisse are killed. A funeral is improvised, with the workers carrying the bodies of the dead back to their homes.
Meanwhile, the mother has tricked Anna into believing that she was just having a routine check when in fact the mother had arranged for an abortion.
Now Anna's father is remorseful, pretending to be shocked that people were killed, and kicks the soldiers out, but the chief reminds him that he paid for it. Kjell tries to see Anna but her father tells him of the abortion, and claims that he didn't know about his wife's decision. Sirens are howling all over town to mourn the dead, and Kjell joins the concert activating one of the sirens. While he is doing this, he meets one of the organizers, who recognizes him and tells him that his father was wrong to condemn violence. The organizer tells him that the sirens are not a call to avenge the dead but a call to unite in a general strike. Kjell, still under the influence of Anna's mother, retorts that education is also important. Then Kjell reproaches his mother who is still grieving. He tears up his father's old shirt that still has the blood stains, and set out to clean up the house. And he makes his mother smile again. At the end of the film we are informed that the events of that strike caused the government to fall and ever since a socialdemocratic party has been in power.
Joe Hill (1971) is the biopic of a charismatic leader of the workers in the USA, a Swedish immigrant who was persecuted and eventually sentenced to death for a murder that he did not commit.
After the inferior Fimpen/ Stubby/ The Butt (1974), Widerberg adopted a more Hollywood-ian style for the crime thriller Mannen pa Taket/ The Man on the Roof (1976), inspired by Friedkin's The French Connection (1971), while attacking police brutality.
After Victoria (1979), an adaptation of Knut Hamsun's 1898 novel, En Handelsresandes Dod (1979), an adaption of Arthur Miller's drama "Death of a Salesman" (1949) Missforstandet (1981), an adaptation of Albert Camus' play "Le Malentendu" (1944), Linje Lusta (1981), an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play "A Streetcar Named Desire", Widerberg directed the crime thriller Mannen fran Mallorca/ The Man from Majorca (1984), which is basically a sequel to The Man on the Roof, and loosely related to a political scandal that rocked Sweden in the 1970s.
After Ormens vag pa Halleberget/ The Serpent's Way (1986), an adaptation of Torgny Lindgren's novel (1982), about a disgusting landlord of the 19th century who forces a tenant to pay rent with sex and his son who does the same to her daughter until he gets brutally punished; Vildanden/ The Wild Duck (1989), an adaptation of Ibsen's play, the family drama Hebriana (1990), based on Lars Noren's play, Efter Forestallningen (1992), from Bengt Bratt's play, Widerberg's career ended with the erotic Lust och Fagring Stor/ Great Lust and Beauty/ All Things Fair (1995), about the relationship between a married female teacher and an under-age male student in 1943.
Bo Widerberg died in 1997.