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WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS

Sweden, 1950 (MIFF 2012, Facing North: Swedish Cinema in Focus)

Director: Lars-Eric Kjellgren

WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS

Arguably one of the best Swedish films of the late 40s/early 50s, Lars-Eric Kjellgren's While the City Sleeps is a forgotten gem written by Kjellgren and Ingmar Bergman.

Layabout Jompa is being pressured at home by his parents, who want him to find a job and live a more productive life. Disregarding their advice, Jompa continues to hang out at nightclubs, play poker and do the odd petty crime. But when he becomes indebted to local criminal Kalle Lund, he contemplates a bigger crime in order get through his money troubles.

Starring Sven-Eric Gamble, the film was scripted by a young Bergman from a novel by Swedish literary giant Per Anders Fogelström (whose book Summer with Monika would provide the basis for a later Bergman masterpiece of the same name). Terrific performances and beautiful chiaroscuro imagery add to its neorealist charms, and as a multi-layered historical document its raw showcase of rebels on the wrong side of the law marked a significant turning point in Swedish representations of crime.

D Lars-Eric Kjellgren P Helge Hagerman S Per Anders Fogelstrom WS SF International L Swedish w/English subtitles TD 35mm/1950

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