Love and Lies, Swedish Style
13.10.2011 - One of Sweden's
most famous actors fell in love with the craft while watching
Sweden's greatest director at work. You'll have the chance to get
acquainted with both of them during ADFF's
Spotlight on Sweden, which includes three classic films from
Ingmar Bergman and a sophisticated new romantic drama starring
Mikael Persbrandt, who had his start on stage in Bergman's 1984
production of King Lear.
Persbrandt was a big draw last year when he came to ADFF to greet
audiences and answer questions at the Middle East premiere of In a Better World. The film went on to win an Academy
Award, thanks in no small part to Persbrandt's simmering
performance. Now Abu Dhabi can see his follow-up when Stockholm East screens for the first time in the
region on Friday.
The remarkably assured debut from director Simon Kaijser da
Silva is a story about true love built on a foundation of lies.
Persbrandt plays Johan, a well-to-do man whose life changes forever
when he kills a 10-year-old girl in a car accident. The girl's
mother, Anna, is played by another of Scandinavia's biggest stars,
Danish actress Iben Hjejle, who is best known internationally for
her roles alongside John Cusack in Stephen Frears's High
Fidelity, in the Dogme 95 film Mifune's Last Song and
in Lars von Trier's The Boss of It All.
One year after the accident, Johan and Anna - still strangers -
meet by chance at the Stockholm East train station. He has been
consumed by guilt, she still hasn't come to terms with the loss,
and both of them have grown distant from their partners. So when
they discover that they can easily confide in one another, their
casual conversations quickly escalate into a secret affair. But as
the intensity between them builds, Johan struggles to hide the
awful secret that he's responsible for the death of Anna's
"I have always wanted to make a film where love is not the hero's
reward but the core conflict of the whole story," says director da
Silva; "where love is a healing force but also potentially
It takes top actors to bring to life a story that carries that
kind of complexity, and da Silva couldn't have asked for better
leads than Persbrandt and Hjejle to anchor his first film.
Persbrandt's star is surely headed even higher thanks to his
upcoming role in Lord of the Rings director Peter
Jackson's epic The Hobbit, but while that film finds the
actor treading through a fantasy world, Stockholm East
shows him grappling with all-too-real emotions.
Stockholm East screens as part of ADFF's
Waterfront Films series on the spectacular outdoor screen at
the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr on Friday, October 14 at 7:30pm. An encore
screening follows Saturday, October 15 at 6:00pm at VOX Cinemas at