Jan Troell: Land of Dreams

On the National Day of Sweden, June 6, SVT (Swedish national public tv broadcaster) had a present for its viewers. At 8.20 in the morning a broadcast was made of the classic documentary by Jan Troell from 1988, Sagolandet (Land of Dreams). The film has a duration of more than 3 hours, is a personal essay, in which the director reflects on the state of the society, he lives in and in which his daughter is to be brought up. The film raised heavy debate when it came out, ran in cinemas for a year and is by the director reckoned as his most personal film, shot over a period of 4 years.

Troell (born 1931) expresses his (mild, often ironic) critique of his country including the American psychologist Rollo May as a questioner and commentator. Among other May talks to the prime minister Ingvar Carlsson, who says the famous sentence ”yes, I think we should have a debate about freedom every tenth year!”.

Troell has, normal for his whole oeuvre, done everything himself, direction, camera and editing. He performs an excellent montage, creating long lyrical sequences, accompanied by precisely chosen music that comments or pays hommage to man.

Troell, world known for his feature films ”Here’s your Life” and ”The Emigrants”/”The New Land”, has done many documentaries, long and short, ”A Frozen Dream” and ”Presence” (”Närvarande”), the latter about his close friend and collaborator, photographer Georg Oddner. 


Sweden, 184 mins., 1988

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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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