Carl Olsson: Vintersaga

This text is written by Magnificent7 Festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic:

A magnificent visual poem by the young Scandinavian director Karl Olsson, the author of a unique style, that enchanted the audience at “The Magnificent Seven” in his exceptional “Patrimonium”. In “Vintersaga”, he develops and perfects his directing even more by creating impressive sights captured by long, firmly fixed, visually complex one shot scenes with participants trapped in time and space.

“Vintersaga” is a Swedish song from the eighties known throughout Scandinavia, a kind of Sweden’s melancholic winter anthem. Carl Olsson transposes the lyrics of the song into 24 scenes shot all over Sweden during a long, dark winter. This remarkable fresco of the country and people, trapped by cold and melancholy, develops into a masterfully created collective portrait of a nation in the widest range of generations, social classes, events and sceneries. As the film unfolds in front of us, it discreetly but increasingly becomes a modern visual Scandinavian fairy tale about a snow-covered kingdom where time stands still. Observed always from a precisely chosen distance, with an intense, deeply pulsating rhythm, these enchanting scenes draw us into that melancholic world and the gloomy states of the Nordic soul in the darkness of endlessly long nights. But this observation does not escape a refined feeling for social analysis and the weight of existential questions about the meaning of everything. The author’s elegance and flawless visual process integrate a deep understanding of people who are in front of the camera, filled with the feeling of being free to be who they are.

The verses of the chorus of the cult “Vintersaga” are silently present in the strange, enchanting, disturbing scenes: “It is then the big melancholy rolls in, and from the ocean blows an icy, bleak wind.”

Sweden, Denmark 2023
81 minutes

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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