This film belongs to an rare niche in Swedish cinema,
a niche with unique films with a completely personal atmosphere
to them. I can't think of many Swedish films like this, but maybe Kejsaren
(1979 by Jösta Hagelbäck) and Giliap (1975
by Roy Andersson) could fall in this bold category also. I remember
seing Kungsleden on TV as a youngster and the
strange atmosphere made a huge visual impact on me, and also the beautiful
BUT, re-watching this after some 40 years or so and
with much gained movie watching experience, i must admit that the
film is a mixed bag, an uneven piece of film art with some astonishing
elements to it as some clunky and not so great.
The DVD sleeve has a great summary of the film in an excerpt from an
old review by Swedish film writer Leif Furhammar
...... "It's Ambitious, Talented and BAD". That's it, Kungsleden
is Great but Bad, with the stuff that cult films are made of.
It's hampered by awful dialogue and also some stiff acting from Mathias
Henrikson, but he looks fine in the trekking scenes
without dialogue admittedly. The Beautiful Maude Adelson is
much better though as the girlfriend (tragically she committed
suicide in 1977 only 36 years old). But on the plus side we got the
hypnotic atmosphere with great photo from the alpine
Laplandian landscape, the soundtrack expressing the confused mind of
our wanderer and the enigmatic beauty of Adelson.
... "Det är så med tiden i fjällen,
det är inte bara att man inte vet hur länge man varit där,
man vet inte heller från
vilken punkt i det förflutna man startade ..."
An important part of this film and maybe even the main
reason why this film stays in your mind for years ... or for
ever, that's the haunting avantgarde experimental soundtrack from composer
Karl-Erik Welin (1934-1992).
Aaah, the 1960's an era when "real" classical composers worked
together with film directors making some really
great soundtracks, as in the Ingmar Bergman masterpiece Persona with
the music from Lars Johan Werle.
The Story ..... maybe?
A man (Mathias Henrikson) is trekking on the famous
Laplandian trail of Kungsleden and he's reminiscing the fatal trek
he made there with his girlfriend/companion Leni (Maude Adelson) 10
But, as Henrikson and Adelson were born in 1940-1941 they would've been
only 14 and 13 years old during this trek?
He was young and un-experienced and couldn't handle her sexuality and
free nature, she was intensely alive and his green
eyes, his jealousy destroyed their vacation .... and maybe even worse.
Also, his racism towards the laplanders (or the the sami's as we say
today) are destructive to their relation, as she, Leni, is
jewish and the trauma of the Holocaust may haunt her. I'm not sure as
i haven't read the book, but she don't like racism and
violence, and he's a jerk. She's was Life and the big love for him,
but he was Death.
He now follows in her trail, the trek she made 10 years earlier OR the
one she also seems to be doing now 10 years later?
Did she die 10 years earlier and did he kill her then or has her new
companion, the mountain climber (Lars Lind) killed her
now? This film is also some sort of a crime thriller and with better
dialogue and acting from the men this film could've been
a truly great film. There are some Persona sensibilities to it and the
1960's was for sure a great decade for filmmaking (and
i wonder if Ingmar Bergman watched this film?)
In Swedish: En liten anekdot
Filmen gjorde inte bara ett djupt intryck på mig
när jag såg den som grabb, utan också på andra.
På Filmhuset i Stockholm
dök det 1 gång per år upp en japan som hyrde en hel
visningssalong för sig själv och såg den från
35 mm kopian av Kungsleden. Inte någon rik exentriker utan en
taxichaufför från Tokyo som på sin semester tog sig
hela världen för att bekosta en visning av Kungsleden. Så
visst finns det en suggestiv kraft av något slag i denna film
widescreen 1.66:1, svenskt tal mono, Klubb Super 8 trailers och några
bilder från produktionsmaterialet till filmen
Tyvärr en dålig bild med urvattnade färger. Förhoppningsvis
kommer Kungsleden att restaureras i framtiden ngn gång