Monday, 3 August 2015


“A conservative is someone who makes no changes and consults his grandmother when in doubt.” - Woodrow Wilson

We watched an old Swedish film last weekend, the 1992, Colin Nutley movie, “Änglagård” (“House of Angels”), starring Helena Bergström, Rikard Wolff, Sven Wollter, Reine Brynolfsson and Ernst Günther. This was a pleasant, entertaining and bittersweet movie that concerned itself with prejudice, small town mentality and conformity vs individuality. The film is very Swedish, even though it is directed by an Englishman and takes place in a lovely part of the Swedish countryside.

A small, conservative village in Västergötland, Sweden is turned upside-down when an elderly, lonely old man dies and his mansion with surrounding land and woods, called “House of Angels”, is inherited by his grand-daughter, Fanny, whom he had never met. Fanny a vivacious and free-spirited young woman comes to the village riding on a big black motorcycle with her best friend Zac, wearing black leather and spikes.

The village people do not welcome this unorthodox city girl, although she manages to win some over with her open, sunny nature. The local well-to-do entrepreneur and village kingpin, Axel Flogfält had expected that he would be able to buy the mansion for a good price, but now it seems that Fanny and Zac have come to stay there. The village is divided into two camps, one for and one against them…

The film is quite a lot of fun, and while the story does not break any new ground, it is a study of human nature. As Fanny gathers information provided by the townspeople about her dead mother and her grandfather, she learns more about herself. The prejudice, fear of the unknown and the different, and the small-mindedness of the Swedish village people is captured well by Nutley. Small communities the world over have similar attitudes and similar characters. The themes of forgiveness and self-knowledge subtly unfold as Fanny interacts with the people of the village, but also as she re-evaluates her relationship with Zac.

The acting is good, the direction light as befits the movie and the music well-suited to the action. The cinematography is beautiful and highlights some of the summery countryside of a lovely part of Sweden. We enjoyed seeing this light and fluffy sleeper of a movie, on a DVD which sort of fell in our lap. It is the first of a trilogy of films, the second being “Änglagård - Andra sommaren” (1994) and the third, “Änglagård - Tredje gången gillt” (2010). I can’t say we’ll actively look for the sequels, but if we come across the DVDs, no doubt we’ll watch them sometime…

1 comment:

  1. I've seen this and enjoyed it very much, Nicholas. Great review.