Sweden/Denmark, 88 mins.
Yes: Documentary is Cinema. Where the best directors know what they are doing. Have chosen a form for what they want to tell. Before shooting. This is what Swedish Anna Eborn has done with this gem of a documentary film. She is working with video and with 16mm film, she has created a superb sound design and used music so it matches the sequences. The critic has no objections!
… an extraordinary cinematic interpretation of something ordinary. No, Lida Utas Andreasdotter is not an ordinary person, but her story, her destiny as a victim of geography and the related events of war and ddeportation have been told about many times before.
She lives with her family as a child in Zmiivka (a former Swedish colony) in Ukraine. During WW2 the family is deported by the Germans, they go to Germany, Poland and after the war they are sent to a camp in Siberia. She comes back to Zmiivka and has stayed there since then. She gave birth to four boys, two of whom died as children, the two others live far away from their mother, as does her sister. There is no contact between them.
The film brings them together. On film. Not in reality. Lida is a great storyteller – in old Swedish. She remembers her childhood, the director brings it to life, and we get a good insight to the old people’s home, where she stays, where she has a male friend, from where she goes with a younger friend Lucia to the cemetery and to the kiosk and to visit other old women, who remember some Swedish. You have to be “always funny and cheerful until the ass lies in the grave”, as one of them says. Anna Eborn has been filming for years. She went to see Lida’s son Arvid to show him footage of his mother, she went to see the sister Maria, she brings them together – it is painful for them to remember. But there are also, of course, the joyful moments from childhood, and they are interpreted in the film. A film full of magic cinematic moments and love and respect for Lida; her family and their story. As simple as that.