Elvira Madigan

JANUARY 16, 2007

7/10. A very sixties film. The camerawork was interesting, even brilliant, in its mobility (the scene where the two lovers chase butterflies) and the colours obtained (the wine spilled upon the picnic cloth). However the story, particularly its dramatic denouement, gave me serious difficulties.

Why can’t one (or both) of them just get a job? Are we supposed to think ‘how sad, this is what a harsh world does to pure love’? Or perhaps, we are supposed to see this headlong pursuit of romantic ruin for the egotism that it really is. It is all very well for Sixten to tell his friend, when pressed on the question of the wife and two children he has abandoned, that he is now ‘in love’ but one wonders how much ice this will cut with them – and begs the question, particularly thirty years into the highest divorce rates in history, of where to draw the dividing line between egotistical whimsy and ‘being true to yourself’.

If this is so the film’s ending bang marks not some epic romantic tragedy but wilful folly of a self-indulgent and terrible kind.