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Who Saw Him Die?
Ole dole doff
dir. Jan Troell / Sweden 1968 / 110’
subtitles: Polish and English
retrospective: Jan Troell


Per Oscarsson, Kerstin Tidelius, Catti Edfeldt, Bo Malmqvist, Ann-Marie Gyllenspetz

Film description

The psychological drama, inspired both by Clas Engström's novel The Island is Sinking (Ön sjunker) and by Troell's own experience of ten years of teaching at a primary school in Malmö. Who Saw Him Die? was shot at the very same school. The film's para-documentary style was achieved not only by the improvised scenes in the classroom with pupils and their parents (e.g. the parents' meeting scene), but also of shooting by Troell with a 16-mm camera made specifically to allow the cinematographer fluent dynamics and psychological authenticity of the observation of the micro-community of the class.

But the film's greatest strength lay in the personal involvement and excellent performance by Per Oscarsson. The actor developed here his typical role as a nervous outsider, both suspicious and naive who has to confront extreme life situations - this time as a teacher, a helpless victim to mobbing by wild teenagers. His increasing conflict with the class is caused not only by the radical reform of the educational system implemented in Sweden during these times, where utmost liberalisation replaced an authoritarian model of relations, but also by the main character's dramatic inadaptation to teaching or even to society in general.

Tadeusz Szczepański

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July-August 2009
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Night and the City by Jules Dassin was specifically selected for the ENH festival by Almodóvar. This film inspired the Spanish master during his work on Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos).

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