Over the years, numerous critics and movie buffs have quoted "Elvira Madigan" as one of the most beautiful films ever made (one example of praise was from Pauline Kael, a truly classic critic of blunt honesty). This writer has heard about it numerous times during the past 20 years and has tried to hunty down a copy, but to little avail.
And that's where the DVD craze comes in.
The good news with this disc. It has been restored to full glory. Freeze frame any one of these beautifully photographed images and you have a wonderful example of scene composition. The blending of nature, air, sun and romance come alive vibrantly all throughout. The sound is truly terrific with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 coming in at the right moments. This could even replace video fires during those winter nights.
But a good movie this isn't. In fact, it's a pretty bad movie. And while it's worth watching for the above imagery, the central leads (Thommy Beggren & Pia Degermark) are attractive through leave little dramatic impact to truly make this an emotional experience (I call it the curse of the two-expression acting method).
So it's based on a true story? I wonder. It was probably some clipping gathered from a modern-day newspaper and the director thinks, "Gee, this would make a great costume drama!". Boom. There you go.
You're waiting for a sense of suspense to come and grab the two main characters together, but it never comes. And the ending seems like a cop-out (oh, but we do get a Swedish kiddie choir to take us out!). You're either left in tears for the two or left in tears for investing money on this stilted cinematic experience.
I love foreign films. I loved to be moved by romance. But I also like to be challenged. I love memorable characters. I love great story & cinematography. To me, a movie experience makes you look forward to revisiting scenes and reacquainting yourselves with the characters. All of the above traits are what make a movie touch the soul.
I wish "Elvira Madigan" did that. It didn't. It is an attractive yet soulless piece of moviemaking.
But this is where you use your own discretion. Go forth.