Jan Troell

Swedish director born 1931. Usually, Troell is also the director of photography in his productions and writes his own scripts. His realistic films with a lyrical photography in which nature is prominent have made him the foremost modern Swedish director together with Ingmar Bergman and Bo Widerberg.

For several years, Troell worked as an elementary-school teacher but started to make shorts in the sixties. He became director of photography for Widerberg but soon made a debut with his own first long film This Is Your Life (Här har du ditt liv, 1966), a film about a working class boy in Sweden, set in the beginning of the 20th century. The film was based upon an autobiographical novel by Eyvind Johnson.

Troell’s major work in the 70’s became The Emigrants (Utvandrarna, 1971) and its sequel The New Land (Nybyggarna, 1972), two epic films about some peasants emigrating from the barren Swedish countryside to America in the 19th century. Once again, Troell films were based upon the novels of a Swedish working-class author, in this case Vilhelm Moberg. As in many of Troell’s films Max von Sydow plays one of the major roles. The Emigrants was nominated for several Academy Awards.

After a brief and unsuccessful sojourn in Hollywood, which resulted in the films Zandy’s Bride (1974), starring Gene Hackman, and The Hurricane (1979), Troell made The Flight of the Eagle (Ingejör Andrées luftfärd, 1982). It is a film about a disastrous polar expedition, lead by a Swedish engineer and balloonist Andrée. The Flight of the Eagle was nominated for the Academy Awards (foreign language film).

The release of Il Capitano: A Swedish Requiem (Il Capitano, 1991) became controversial since the film is based upon a true story; the brutal murder of a Swedish family just a few years earlier. Yet, it concentrates on the psychological power game between the murderer and his girlfriend rather than the violence of the crime. It was awarded with the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

Troell has also made documentaries, for instance Land of Dreams (Sagolandet, 1988), dealing with modern society’s alienation from nature and A Frozen Dream (En frusen dröm, 1997) in which he once again brings up Andrée’s polar expedition.

At the age of 70, Troell is still productive. His recent films include As White as in Snow (Så vit som en snö, 2001) and his latest documentary Precense (Närvarande, 2003).

Related links: Jan Troell at IMDb, for a complete filmography and more details on his films: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0873296/


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