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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Here is Your Life aka "Här har du ditt liv" [Blu-ray]


(Jan Troell, 1966)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Svensk Filmindustri (SF)

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #766



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:49:09.597

Disc Size: 48,882,946,100 bytes

Feature Size: 35,011,590,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 21

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July 14th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio Swedish 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), none



• New introduction by filmmaker Mike Leigh (4:41)
New conversation between director Jan Troell and film historian Peter Cowie (33:48)
New interviews with actor Eddie Axberg (15:47) and producer and coscreenwriter Bengt Forslund (14:56)
Interlude in the Marshland, a 1965 short film by Troell, starring Max von Sydow (30:10)
PLUS: An essay by film scholar Mark Le Fanu





Description: This mesmerizing debut by the great Swedish director Jan Troell is an epic bildungsroman and a multilayered representation of early twentieth-century Sweden. Based on a series of autobiographical novels by Nobel Prize winner Eyvind Johnson, Here Is Your Life follows a working-class boy’s development, from naive teenager to intellectually curious young adult, from logger to movie projectionist to politically engaged man of the people—all set against the backdrop of a slowly industrializing rural landscape. With its mix of modernist visual ingenuity and elegantly structured storytelling, this enchanting film—presented here in its original nearly three-hour cut—is a reminder that Troell is one of European cinema’s finest and most sensitive illuminators of the human condition.



The Film:

Based on Eyvind Johnson's book Romanen om Olof, Here's Your Life is an epic drama considered a masterpiece in Sweden. Filmed in widescreen with black-and-white and color film stocks, it was released in 1966 in Sweden with a three-hour running time. In 1968, it was cut down considerably for the U.S. release. Set at the turn of the 20th century, Olof Persson (Eddie Axberg) grows up in the small village of Norrland. He tries to escape his hometown and become a writer. Max Von Sydow appears as Smalands-Pelle, a family friend who offers Olof a job. Eventually the young man grows into adulthood and discovers politics, sex, and the cinema. Also starring Gudrun Brost, Bo Wahlstrom, and Gunnar Bjornstrand.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Troell's expansive first feature is a statement of intent, reviving the outdoor naturalism through which the classic Swedish cinema of Sjöström and others made its name, but applying a typically '60s sensibility highlighting social divisions. Based on Eyvind Johnson's novel Romanem om Olof, it's a celluloid Bildungsroman, set during the years of the Great War, and following Axberg's teenage protagonist as he quits his peasant foster parents' humble home in northern Sweden. Moving through a variety of labouring jobs, he eventually signs up as projectionist in a travelling cinema show, and begins to develop some political awareness. He has always had aspirations to be a novelist, and Troell's understated but authentic record makes clear how crucial these school of life experiences will be in shaping this alert individual. The documentary-influenced style that later marked The Emigrants emerges almost fully formed here, the director/editor/cameraman's evident respect for ordinary workers and his faith in letting the material speak for itself are justified by a leisurely but compelling narrative through-line.

Excerpt from TiemOut located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Here is Your Life looks wonderful on Blu-ray from Criterion.  The almost 3-hour film is housed on a dual-layered disc. Grain textures are very apparent and the contrast is very pleasing. It is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and detail, in a few close-ups, is solid. There are sequences with depth. The two brief color scenes are equally as rich and thick and the black and white majority. The image is very clean with no speckles or damage marks. This Blu-ray has no discernable flaws and supplies a very film-like presentation in 1080P.




















Audio :

Criterion use a linear PCM mono track in the original Swedish at 1152 kbps.  There isn't a lot of depth but dialogue is completely clear and clean. The sparsely used, gentle score is by Erik Nordgren (Bergman's Through a Glass Darkly, The Virgin Spring, The Magician, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal) and supports the film discreetly. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

Criterion include many supplements starting with a new 5-minute introduction by filmmaker Mike Leigh recorded in New York in December 2014. There is a 34-minute conversation between director Jan Troell and film historian Peter Cowie discussing the co-writer, director, cinematographer, and editor of Here is Your Life about his beginnings in film and working methods. It was recorded at Troell's home in Sweden in March 2015. There are also 2 new 1/4 hour interviews conducted in Stockholm in 2015 with actor Eddie Axberg and producer and coscreenwriter Bengt Forslund. The latter describing the transformation of his nation's cinema during the 60s. In 1965, director Jan Troell took part in the omnibus film 4 X 4, which comprises four shorts, each from a different Nordic country. Troell's Swedish entry, the 1/2 hour Interlude in the Marshland, starring Max von Sydow and produced and co-written by Bengt Forslund, is based on a story by Eyvind Johnson, author of the autobiographical novels that form the basis of Here is Your Life. The package contains a liner notes booklet with an essay by film scholar Mark Le Fanu.



What an amazing film - a pure masterpiece. Troell's filmmaking skill was evident in Everlasting Moments and I was so pleased to see this important early feature. I was so impressed. What a fabulous choice for Criterion to bring to Blu-ray. Here is Your Life gets our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

June 19th, 2015



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