In the films of Swedish director Jan Troell (The Emigrants, The New Land), ordinary lives assume epic dimensions, and this drama, based on the experiences of his wife's protofeminist grandmother, doesn't sugarcoat the hardships of the early 1900s. A beleaguered mother (Maria Heiskanen) despairs of feeding her large family, while her drunken husband (Mikael Persbrandt) loses jobs and chases skirts. Ironically, a camera she won in a lottery during their courtship leads to new opportunities, thanks to the kindness of a gentleman photographer (Jesper Christensen). Mischa Gavrjusjov keys the camera work to the characters' moods, inky blacks portending a thunderous alcoholic outburst, golden washes signaling the heroine's late blooming. In Swedish with subtitles. 125 min.
Director: Jan Troell
Writer: Niklas Rådström and Jan Troell
Producer: Tero Kaukomaa and Thomas Stenderup
Cast: Maria Heiskanen, Mikael Persbrandt, Jesper Christensen, Emil Jensen, Ghita Nørby, Hans Henrik Clemensen, Amanda Ooms, Antti Reini, Birte Heribertsson and Claire Wikholm