Den Allvarsamma Leken (A Serious Game)
Based on Söderberg’s classic 1912 novel of the same name, Den Allvarsamma Leken (A Serious Game) takes place in Stockholm at the turn of the century, where Lydia (Karin Franz Korlof), the daughter of a Bohemian landscape artist, meets Arvid (Sverrir Gudnason), a proofreader for the national paper, and their destinies become forever entangled. When Lydia’s father passes away suddenly she is forced to take a husband with a large inheritance. Feeling refused and confused, Arvid does the same but chance and a burning desire to know what could have been bring them back together, time and time again.
Franz Korlof and Gudnason’s chemistry burns with a quiet intensity that keeps the tragic push and pull of their relationship exciting to watch. The melancholic lovers are trapped by the constraints and morals of the oppressive society they are trying to prosper in. What really grabs the attention is the cinematography, which seems to borrow the same gentle light and vivid color palette of the impressionist period it is depicting. The characters’ emotional turmoil is articulated in the luxurious landscapes and interiors that are so filled with intricate details they resemble Renoir tableaux.
The romance at the heart of the story is complicated by the fact that they are both married and need to remain so but also by the idea of love. It is always uncertain as to whether the protagonists are genuinely going against their better judgement and pursuing this romance because they believe in the ideal or simply because they want to be reminded of their more innocent past. The only shortcoming that makes the story a little too simple is a lack of screen for their respective partners that could have broken up the back-and-forth rhythm the film gets mired in.
Den Allvarsamma Leken is a breakthrough with undeniable charm that faithfully captures the look of the period but more importantly the spirit too.
The Serious Game does not have a UK release date yet.
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