Swedish Press N Y A
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Gothenburg Turns 400!
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November 2020 Vol 91:09 $5.95
The Birth of Gothenburg Gunnebo Slott Modvion 2020 Nobel Laureates
Putting Sweden on the Map At Home
Roy Andersson, Roy Andersson – Swedish film director, screenwriter, film producer and commercial filmmaker
Roy Andersson. Photo © Fred Scott
Roy Andersson, 77, is considered one of Europe’s most distinguished living film directors. Andersson has made several internationally acclaimed movies, including feature films ”En kärlekshistoria” (A Swedish Love Story), ”Sånger från andra våningen” (Songs from the Second Floor), ”Du levande” (You, the Living), ”En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron” (A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence) and most recently ”Om det oändliga” (About Endlessness). Swedish Press spoke to the Gothenburg native about his hometown, recent achievements and upcoming holiday plans.
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Tell us about your childhood. I was born and raised in Gothenburg in a working-class family. I am the eldest of four sons. Our childhood was spent with our parents in two parts of the city. At first we lived in Nordstaden, which is a district in central Gothenburg north of Stora Hamnkanalen and part of Gothenburg’s original urban area. My parents moved there after my father was offered work as a property manager in the district. His work benefits included free housing, so our family moved into one of the property apartments. The area we lived in was quite shabby, so when I was five years old we decided to leave Nordstaden. From there we moved to Hisingen, an island belonging to the municipality of Gothenburg and Västra Götaland County. When did you become interested in film? When I was a young boy I wanted to be an author. But that changed as I enjoyed watching movies, especially a 1945 Swedish children’s movie called “Barnen från Frostmofjället.” My interest in film grew most strongly in the 70’s. I watched European cinema from that decade, especially French and Italian films. My favorite Italian film is “The Bicycle Thief” by Italian director and actor Vittorio De Sica. I am also a big fan of Spanish-Mexican
filmmaker Luis Buñuel who worked in France, Spain and Mexico. These were serious filmmakers and I wanted to become like them. Where did you study? After graduating from “latinlinjen” at Hvitfeldtska läroverket (The Hvitfeldt High School) in central Gothenburg in 1963 I studied at the University of Lund. In 1967 I applied and was admitted to Filminstitutets filmskola (later Dramatiska Institutet, or University College of Film, Radio, Television and Theatre) in Stockholm. Filminstitutets filmskola was the only film college in Sweden at that time and I managed to get in on the first try. One could not apply to the film school until the age of 24 so I had to wait and, in the meantime, completed university studies in literary history and philosophy. What’s your connection to Gothenburg today? I live and have my film studio in Stockholm. My main connection to Gothenburg today is that I have family there. One of my brothers sadly passed away a few years ago, but I still have two brothers living in Gothenburg. I haven’t been to the city for a while, but I enjoy visiting Gothenburg and my brothers.
What’s the most important quality in a film director? Total accuracy! Financing a film is costly and one cannot be careless in the process. I do not care for carelessness. If you are not going to give it 100 percent, you may just as well not do it. What other film directors inspire you in your work? I like Swedish directors Ruben Östlund and Gabriela Pichler, as well as the American film director and screenwriter Jim Jarmusch. I really enjoyed Jarmusch’s movie “Stranger Than Paradise” and am mainly inspired by his sense of humor. I am also inspired by Czech directors Giro Menzel and Milos Forman. The everyday comedy in their films inspires me. I find inspiration in paintings and art. I enjoy the works of Spanish romantic painter and printmaker Francisco Goya. Images inspire me. Sweden has had great success internationally in culture, music and film. You are a part of that. How do you view your work? When I meet with reporters abroad they call me and my film style unique. They feel that there is something special about my movies. It makes me stand out.
... a Swedish Film Giant In which other areas do you think Sweden has excelled most globally, especially in North America? We have distinguished ourselves through our policy of solidarity, and I am proud of that. Unfortunately, I feel that it is weathering a bit now. But overall, Sweden is not lagging behind. Rather the opposite! How do you think the image of Sweden is changing and developing internationally (particularly in North America)? Sweden in the past was introspective and very provincial. Today, we are considered modern and new because our horizons have widened. What is your latest film? “Om det oändliga”, which I directed and scripted. It premiered in September 2019 at the Venice Film Festival. How would you describe the film? “Om det oändliga” moves between the present and the past and depicts historical figures such as Adolf Hitler and Ivan the Terrible. The loose structure was inspired by “Tusen och en natt” (Arabian Nights). The plot is carried by a fairy who also acts as a narrator. The film reminds us of the fragility and beauty of our existence and, with that in mind, of our need to maintain that endless treasure and pass it on. I would like to describe the film as a “film-poem”. It’s a poetic film, visual with little dialogue. And, pretty funny!
In 2014, you became the first Swede to win the Golden Lion at the Film Festival in Venice with the film “En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron.” Last year you competed with the film “Om det oändliga” and won the Silver Lion for best direction. What have these prestigious awards meant to you? Receiving these prizes is a great honor. They are great confirmations and boosts of energy. I am proud of my films and happy that I have had the strength to make them. It is also easier to seek finance when you are recognized for your movies. Speaking of awards – you recently received the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Odessa International Film Festival. Congratulations! Thank you! The festival has one of the largest audiences in Eastern Europe, and the Lifetime Achievement Award is honorary. I am very happy and satisfied with it. What’s next? I long to write! I’ll most likely work on fragmentary reflections on life. What are you doing for Christmas? I am being interviewed by another 12 journalists before the holidays. Once those interviews are completed I will take some time off. My partner Anne-Marie lives in Lund, Skåne in Southern Sweden, so that’s most likely where we will be celebrating. Interviewed by Sofie Kinnefors
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H E RITAG E
Welcome to Gunnebo House and Gardens
Gunnebo House – The True Story Behind a Fairytale By Peter Berlin
nce upon a time in Gothenburg there was a very wealthy merchant named John Hall. He and his family lived in one of the city’s most palatial edifices. In 1782 John Hall hired the city architect to design and build a 25-room mansion on the outskirts of Gothenburg as a summer residence. It was made of wood instead of traditional masonry. The project, which he named Gunnebo House, included an orangerie, a hermitage, several outbuildings, a formal English garden with a big fountain, and a kitchen garden. This may sound like a fairytale, but it is actually a true story. Sadly, the story does not end well.
In the mid-18th century, John Hall was probably Gothenburg’s richest citizen. He owned the trading company John Hall & Co and made his fortune dealing mainly in wood, wrought iron, and oil extracted from herring. His architect, Carl Wilhelm Carlberg, had travelled abroad to seek inspiration, as was the custom in those days among artistically inclined people with deep pockets or affluent sponsors. He was particularly inspired by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio whose style he borrowed when designing Gunnebo House and its gardens. It took nearly 20 years to complete the entire property, although the family was able to move in after 14 years.
Aerial view of Gunnebo House & Gardens. Photo: Sofia Kvistborn/Gunnebo Slott och Trädgårdar
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The salon. Photo: Peter Kvarnström/Gunnebo Slott och Trädgårdar
Family time at Gunnebo House. Photo: Happy Visuals/Göteborg & Co
Photo: Jonas Ingman/Gunnebo Slott och Trädgårdar
Wedding at Gunnebo House. Photo: Gunnebo Slott och Trädgårdar
Unfortunately, John Hall died in 1802, around the same time that Gunnebo House was completed, so he didn’t have much opportunity to enjoy his summer residence. His son John Hall Jr inherited both John Hall & Co and Gunnebo House. He was an odd character who knew several languages but spoke very little. He never shaved or went to the barber, so his face was almost entirely covered with hair. His mind and heart were in the fine arts rather than in the harsh world of business. His income dwindled while his debts grew. In a desperate attempt to service his debts, he sold most of the furniture and fittings at Gunnebo House, but that did not stave off his creditors who eventually laid claim to the property itself. John Hall Jr challenged the forfeiture in court – a case which he eventually won, but the legal fees drained away whatever capital he had left. In 1807 his company was declared bankrupt, his wife divorced him in 1809 and he died a pauper in 1830, leaving no heirs.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, Gunnebo House changed hands several times. Some of the new owners modified the property, while others neglected it to varying degrees. The magnificent orangerie was pulled down. Eventually the house became derelict. In 1949 it was taken over by Mölndal Municipality. An ambitious restoration followed and continues to this day. Some of the original furniture which John Hall Jr had sold off was recovered, while other pieces were remanufactured. Gunnebo House has had many prominent visitors, including King Gustav III, King Gustav V, the Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda, and US President George W Bush. Nowadays, Gunnebo House is a museum open to the public. There is a restaurant, bakery, gift shop, party rooms and conference facilities. Every summer, an open-air theatre is held in the gardens. Read more on www.gunneboslott.se.
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‘Let’s Colour Gothenburg’ Celebrates the City and Brings Jobs to Young People
By Kristi Robinson
rom Gothenburg’s cultural center, Kulturhuset Blå Stället in Angered, to art centre Röda Sten Konsthall in Klippan, “Let’s Colour Gothenburg” is considered the world’s longest art trail, and it was created in preparation for Gothenburg’s upcoming 400th anniversary. Stretching for 21 km, parts of the city landscape have been transformed with vibrant street art. Building façades, pavements, pedestrian and bike tunnels, trash bins, and park benches have all become urban canvases for international and local artists invited to take part. “Let’s Colour Gothenburg” was responsible for a number of art projects around the city, one of which was the international competition “Gothenburg Art 21”. This art competition had a bit of a twist. While aiming to unify different areas of the city with the winning artwork, the project had the unique motivation to provide jobs to local youth. Young people living in areas of Gothenburg with the lowest rates of employment were given the opportunity to train and work as professional painters. Rather than having the winning artists paint their murals, it was the responsibility of the trained young painters. It was only the two diamond level winners – Sweden’s Llefen Carrera and Isaac Barreda from France – who painted their own murals.
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Artist Christo Guelov’s ‘Lego’s Bridge’. Photo © Christo Guelov
One of the standout pieces from the competition was from Bulgariaborn, Madrid-based artist Christo Guelov. Guelov’s ‘Lego’s Bridge’ was chosen for its playfulness and high recognition factor. The local young painters turned the Älvsborg Bridge over the Göta River into Guelov’s concept of Lego’s Bridge. On building walls in Majorna the young painters skillfully manifested the creative visions of a Spanish artist who goes
under the name Concerto Street Art, with his art piece “Calm Waters”, and that of Argentina’s Irene Lasivita. Without putting a gender on the subject, Lasivita’s mural titled “Gender Revolution” was described by the jury as “a magic painting with radiance of tolerance”. Further down the art trail in Gamlestaden, the work of Brazilian architect and visual artist Romulo Lass was painted in a pedestrian and bike tunnel. Young artists from Gothenburg together with youth from Spain painted Lass’ graphic piece “Astronauts in Love”, along with five other works in tunnels along the trail. This exchange, facilitated by “Youth Power 2020” and created by “Let’s Colour Gothenburg”, seeks to promote meeting and collaboration among young people through art. As the city prepares to celebrate its 400th anniversary, the “Let’s Colour Gothenburg” project has brought colour and culture to the streets. More importantly, the project has nurtured the abilities of young people to create something they can be proud of – a legacy for the city and its youth.
Left: Mural by Charqui Punk in Hammarkullen. © Göteborg 2021 | Below: Diamond winner of Gothenburg Art 21: Llefen Carrera from Sweden with “Nature’s Dust”. Photo © Gothenburg Art 21 | Bottom: Gold winner of Gothenburg Art 21: Thaigo Mazza from Brazil with “We are nature”. Photo © Gothenburg Art 21 | Right: ‘Gender Revolution’ by Irene Lasivita. Photo © Göteborg 2021 | Bottom right: ‘Calm Waters’ by Concerto Street Art. Photo © Gothenburg Art 21 | Bottom page 22: ‘Astronauts in Love’ by Romulo Lass. Photo © Gothenburg Art 21
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Swedish Press is the world’s leading magazine on all good things Swedish. An authority on design, business, culture and travel since 1929, S...
Published on Oct 20, 2020
Swedish Press is the world’s leading magazine on all good things Swedish. An authority on design, business, culture and travel since 1929, S...