In Sweden in the early 1900s, “Everlasting Moments” chronicles the life of Maria Larsson (Maria Heiskanen), an immigrant from Finland who uses a camera she wins in a lottery to document her life. Maria works with her camera to support her children while tolerating frequent abuse from Sigfrid (Mikael Persbrandt), her womanizing and alcoholic husband. Maria’s daughter Maja, who vividly presents her mother’s strength and dignity in the face of considerable hardship, narrates the film.
Without the question, Jan Troell is one of the most important Scandinavian filmmakers. The Swedish director is famous for his understated rhythms and for writing, directing, editing, and shooting his own films. A former schoolteacher, Troell made short films, then worked as a cameraman for Bo Widerberg before making his feature debut with the coming-of-age story HERE’S YOUR LIFE (1966). After WHO SAW HIM DIE? (1968), he made his best-known works, THE IMIGRANTS (1971), which earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay) and its sequel, THE NEW LAND (1972), which together presented a sweeping account of Swedish immigrants coming to America in the 1840s, based on Vilhelm Moberg’s novel “Unto a Good Land.” The films were hailed collectively as the Swedish equivalent of Gone With the Wind and were notable for Troell’s direct and humane treatment of his characters’ plight. After a couple of American film assignments, Troell returned to Scandinavia with THE FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE (1982), also a return to Swedish history with A FROZEN DREAM, a story of the failed 1897 North Pole expedition undertaken by S. A. Andree. Since then, Troell has made SAGOLANDET (1986), Il CAPITANO (1991, won the Silver Bear in Berlin in 1992), AS WHITE AS IN SNOW (2001) and the best example of a true Scandinavian co-production becoming a hit in all its local territories, the acclaimed HAMSUN (1996).