Tag Archives: Liv Ullmann

Utvandrarna [The Emigrants] (1971)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Utvandrarna</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">The Emigrants</strong>] (1971)

(On Cable TV, January 2019) I can’t adequately explain how much I love “Tiny House of Terror” as a movie title. It’s over-the-top, instantly intriguing and packs the cuteness of “Tiny House” with the threatened menace that is “OF TERROR!” in four short words. Impossible to resist, and probably impossible to live up to as well. This is a made-for-Lifetime TV movie and it shows—watching it on commercial-free Cable TV channels, you can see the fade-out-fade-ins, which is especially amusing in the case when it fades back to the very same shot. While the screenwriter has to be congratulated for the chutzpah of creating a thriller based on the high-concept housing fad of the moment, Tiny House of Terror doesn’t, in the end, have much to do with Tiny Houses—it goes beyond the setting to quickly becomes a sombre revenge thriller where the tiny house becomes an afterthought. The broken chronology of the result is interesting and while some twists can be guessed in advance, the film is filled with so many red herrings that it’s actually a letdown when everything is explained as the resolution does not match our wildest explanations. This Canadian production gets a few extra points for cute lead actresses (Francia Raisa and Nazneen Contractor)—and some applause for casting non-Caucasian actresses for no particular plot reason. In the end, despite a title that overpromises much, Tiny House of Terror is not that good but not that bad either—too bad about the disappointing ending, though.

Persona (1966)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Persona</strong> (1966)

(Kanopy streaming, September 2018) I approached Persona with a great deal of wariness—I’m already cool on Ingmar Bergman, on European art-house, on audience-supplied-narrative, on pretty much everything that Persona is said to exemplify. That it comes preloaded with a reputation as a movie where any interpretation has been dissected and found plausible didn’t help my mindset at all. On the other hand, my lowered expectations may have helped, because I found Persona to be reasonably interesting. It only takes a few moments for the aggressive opening sequence to quasi-subliminally show an erect phallus on screen—from then on, anything can happen and it’s almost a relief not to try to make sense of it as the film multiplies its show-off moments. There’s fourth-wall breaking, images of the physical film snapping, a high-energy interlude, a scorching-hot erotic monologue, great performances by Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann, deliberate confusion about the identities of the characters (or even whether they’re distinct characters) and a tone that leads you to expect the worst even if nothing much happens. In short, it’s an experience more than a story, and it works much better if you just let it wash over you. I still don’t like this kind of movie and wouldn’t necessarily recommend Persona unless I was sure that this is the kind of effect the viewer was looking for, but I’m satisfied to call my viewing of the film at least a draw in terms of enjoyment, which is much better than what I was expecting. Onward to other Bergman movies, I guess…