Tag Archives: Ingvar Hirdwall

Mannen från Mallorca

Mannen från Mallorca

Mannen från Mallorca

Mannen från Mallorca

Mannen från Mallorca

Mannen från Mallorca

I suppose you need to know your Lucia celebrations on the 13th of December in Sweden to fully appreciate the scene where the singing children are striding through a post office mid-robbery in Bo Widerberg’s film The Man From Majorca.

Somehow I suspect I appreciate it all the more for being an exile who can’t have enough traditional behaviour, especially if it takes place in my old place of work. Well, not precisely ‘my’ old place, as this was set in Stockholm 6 (‘Post offices have numbers?’, Daughter said incredulously), and I never worked there. However, I could give you a long and almost complete list of all the post offices I did work in.

Other than the Lucia in the post office bit, this is a fairly average Swedish style police film, and was probably one of the earliest of what now seems to be the norm for Nordic crime on both small and large screens.

I first came across it late one night on BBC2, back in the 1980s. We’d just bought ourselves a video recorder, so recorded the film and watched it at a more sociable hour. I suppose I must have been feeling a little homesick, or something, because the beginning in the post office really got to me. I knew exactly what it was like on the inside of the counter, except in my day I never had a robber or murderer jump in with the parcels. On the whole, that’s a good thing.

Policemen Johansson and Jarnebring are the ones who end up chasing the cold and calculating robber. They keep stumbling on clues and it doesn’t take them too long to work out who did it. The hard thing is proving it, and in true Swedish style there’s a lot of dirty politics going on in both the police force and in Government departments, and the ending is an interesting one.

Mannen från Mallorca, Johansson & Jarnebring

This is a film full of big name actors, including Sven Wollter (most beautiful man in Sweden…). His partner Tomas von Brömssen is the more vulnerable, being lonely after a divorce. Watching him watching the Christmas Eve Disney special on television in the company of the ex-wife and children and the new husband is very painful.

No Nordic crime is complete without a well pickled drunk, and Sten Lonnert does a good job getting hopelessly lost in a monologue about boxers during his ‘interrogation’ by Tommy Johnson, who himself hides a little bottle of something in the bookcase at work.

After all these years, it was good to force Offspring to watch the film, and it’s a relief to see how well it has aged. Were it not for a lack of mobile phones it could have been set today. And that post offices no longer exist.

Män som hatar kvinnor – the film review

So how many times have I blogged about this blasted film without ever getting close to reviewing it? Let’s just say that it’s been a few blogs too many. And what shall I call it, now that I have actually – actually – watched it? The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, or Män som hatar kvinnor? I may go for MSHK on the basis that it’s the shortest. The curse against me, or against the film, continued to be operational even after the DVD arrived, as various things conspired to prevent me sitting down to watch immediately.

Now I have. And I was even accompanied for most of the time by the Residential IT Consultant who wasn’t going to watch, on account that he wouldn’t understand it. He watched, he understood most of it, and he cried at the end. So things are as they should be.

It’s a lot easier reading about all this misogyny and violence than it is to watch on screen. I tend to forget how violent the books are, but I’m grateful I had read MSHK before seeing the film, or I would have had far more problems watching the ‘bad stuff’.

The film is surprisingly true to the book, and even though it’s a long film at nearly two and a half hours, it doesn’t feel as if too much has been left out. It marches through what it needs to do without hesitating and it gets to the end, and even begins to look at book two a little. That may not be a bad thing, as I gather number two is in Swedish cinemas on 18th September, with number three close behind on 27th November.

Noomi Rapace

Mikael Blomkvist is less soft than I had imagined him, but other than that, most of the characters are as described in the book. It’s weird having a previously handsome young man like Sven-Bertil Taube as the elderly Vanger, but actors do grow old. Noomi Rapace is really good as Lisbeth Salander. Someone has remarked that she doesn’t come across as having Asperger Syndrome, but that’s not surprising in a film. Not only would it be harder to show, but it might put people off. It’s not essential, as her personality shows very clearly anyway.

I have also seen a suggestion that Erika Berger looks too old in the film, but I wonder if people have been seduced to expect Hollywood youth and beauty from the book, where characters are simply fairly ordinary. Lisbeth, for instance is no seductive bimbo, but a damaged and badly treated young woman with exceptional skills. And we couldn’t help wondering where Hollywood might find a suitable landscape for all this. The scenery is beautiful, but at the same time quite ordinary for Sweden.

It’s a film worth waiting for, although I’d be quite grateful if I don’t have the same delays for the next two. And speaking of people who are older than they used to be; Björn Granath played the old policeman. He was younger when we held hands, all those years ago…