Another sad film from Sweden... “We are not so good at making comedies,” says actress Lena Endre in an interview for Nordic Reach.
Breaking up is no fun to do, even in Sweden which leads the European league when it comes to divorces. The break-up of marriages and the disruption of families may be commonplace in Scandinavia, but that doesn’t mean it is ever fun or friction-free.
“Divorce is an enormous defeat, a catastrophe for the adults and the children,” says actress Lena Endre, who stars in a new, prize-winning film by director Richard Hobert called “Everybody Loves Alice” (Alla Älskar Alice)
Everybody Loves Alice is a love story about surviving a divorce, and how everybody concerned pays a heavy emotional price when a husband (played by Mikael Persbrandt) abandons his wife (Marie Richardson) in order to live with single mother (Lena Endre).
All of the characters in this intense drama make mistakes and wander about without a road-map as they struggle to come to terms with the traumatic change in their lives. We witness the anger and bitterness of the betrayed wife; the shame, desperation and fear of the father who becomes unwillingly estranged from his children; and the frustration of the “new” woman who must cope with a daughter-in-law who regards her as the enemy.
Most of all, the film highlights the dilemma of 12-year-old daughter Alice (convincingly played by Natalie Björk) who tries to juggle feelings of anxiety, anger, fear and guilt.
There aren’t any murders or car chases in this film—although the betrayed wife (Marie Richardsson) pelts the woman who steals her husband with supermarket vegetables in one memorable scene. Nor will the audience leave the movie theater with any simplistic moral lessons. Nevertheless, this thoughtful tale is sure to strike a chord with a large audience, as is evident by the film’s surprising success at the Hollywood Film Festival
Fantastic to win Best European Film The director and stars of “Everybody Loves Alice” felt honored when the film was nominated to compete at the Hollywood festival, but they didn’t think it had much of a chance to win a prize.
“At first, we had not planned to go to Los Angeles to attend, so it was rather fantastic when the film won in the “Best European Film” category and they called out my husband’s name,” Lena Endre recalls.
After the sitdown dinner for over 1,500 people in the Grand Ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hilton, Lena and her husband went backstage where they got a chance to meet such major-league stars as Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford and Leonardo di Caprio.
Lena Endre, who has frequently worked with Ingmar Bergman at the Royal Dramatic Theater, now plans to take a year off to spend more time at home with her young daughters.
“I normally perform in the theater five or six nights a week, but I can’t do that every season, or I will be divorced again, “ Lena says with a bittersweet laugh.
The actress has been married for the past two years (since 2000) to scriptwriter and film director Richard Hobert. The director/actress couple denies that their latest film is based directly upon personal experience, but Lena acknowledges that the break-up of her former marriage was at least as difficult as the nightmarish events portrayed in Everybody Loves Alice
“I have talked to hundreds of people who have seen this film…and they say this (cinematic depiction) is peanuts. Israel and the Palestinians are also in a sort of marriage, and that is just how many relationships look like.”
Lena also played a leading role in 2000 in Liv Ullman’s Faithless (Trolösa), which also deals with the consequences of infidelity.
Hollywood or Bergman..? Although Lena is widely recognized as one of Sweden’s greatest actresses, and has received countless awards and honors, she has never worked abroad.
“Here I get such good parts, work with the best directors,” Lena explains.I “I once had an agent tried to make me move over to America and work in Hollywood, but what should I do, say no thanks to Ingmar Bergman?”
When not working on a film or in performing in the theater, Lena likes to go down to her summer house in southern Sweden, where she has four Icelandic horses.
“Last weekend, we were riding along the beach, splashing in the water,” she told this reporter after the press showing of the film in Stockholm.
Asked to compare the cinema in Scandinavia and America, Lena observes that Nordic film makers make some fine, thought-provoking films, but have been less successful when it comes to making an audience laugh. This isn’t only a legacy of generally somber film giant Bergman, but has much to do with the mentality of people in this icy region.
“We are not so good at making comedies. Its in our soul. Just look at how people are here; we are a little romantic and melancholy. We are not really comedic people, but a lot of good movies have nevertheless been made here. Someone has to make the sad ones, too,” she concludes.
By David Bartal
Lena Endre photographed for Nordic Reach Magazine by David Bartal.