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ERA New Horizons IFF


9th Edition of the ERA New Horizons International Film Festival, to be held in Wroclaw, Poland from 23 July to 2 August.


Rediscovering A Swedish Film Master


by Sandy Mandelberger, Online Dailies Editor

The Swedish master filmmaker Jan Troell is the subject of a major retrospective tribute at this year’s ERA New Horizons International Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. The 78-year-old film auteur has amassed a string of film jewels over a career that stretches back five decades. Many of these gems, including his latest masterpiece “Everlasting Moments”, nominated this past year for the Oscar, will be screened.   


Jan Gustaf Troell was born in 1931 in the small village of Limhamn, outside Malmö. He  started making short films in the 1960s, showing a particularly visual flair. He graduated to director of photography for colleague Bo Widerberg before making his own debut feature, “Here’s Your Life” (1966), about a working class boy in Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century. His next film ”Who Saw Him Die?” (1968) won the Golden Bear prize at the Berlin International Film Festival and catapulted him to world recognition.  His follow-up was a two-part epic on the dramatic story of Swedish emigrants to the raw country of 19th century America. “The Emigrants” (1970) and “The New Land” (1971) were international sensations, winning for Troell two Oscar nominations for direction and writing.  Troell’s new-found fame led him, as many European filmmakers before him, to the Hollywood studios, where he was a director for hire on the films “Zandy’s Bride” (1974), a new style Western starring Gene Hackman and Liv Ullmann and “The Hurricane” (1979), an adaptation of the John Michener novel, starring Mia Farrow and Max von Sydow, an actor with whom he would collaborate in many films.  


Not happy with his Hollywood experiences, Troell returned to his native land and developed an unusual story based on a true incident. “The Flight Of The Eagle” (1982), is the rousing story of a disastrous Arctic balloon expedition in 1897. The film was nominated for an Oscar and won Best Actor honors for Max von Sydow at the Venice Film Festival. He sat out most of the 1980s but returned to full force in 1991 with the release of the controversial Il Capitano (1991) , based on the brutal murder of a Swedish family, which was awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.  In the past fifteen years, Troell has focused on documentaries which deal with modern society’s alienation from nature.  Undaunted as he nears 80, he is in the early process of developing a film about currently in the early process of making a bio-pic on the life of liberal crusading Swedish journalist Torgny Segerstedt. The director, who generally writes his own scripts and serves as lead cinematographer for most of his projects, is a visual artist extraordinaire.  


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