Marit weds farmer Johan, a dull old stick with a poisonous mother living across the river. Along comes a fat-arsed lumberjack who easily seduces Marit away, taking her on a perilous journey over the rapids, with Johan in hot pursuit. It ends with the seducer taking a beating and a penitent Marit returning to the farm – happy ending for Johan, his ‘property’ restored, but most modern audiences will feel frustrated at Marit’s inability to kiss off both these jerks and head for the bright lights. (In Juha, the Kaurismäki remake, she suffers even more grievously.) Stiller deadpans the morality of the tale, more intent on having his camera commune with the rugged Scandinavian landscape. The inter-titles are unusual, being in the form of a trad-sounding ballad with a mocking refrain. From a novel by Juhani Aho. —timeout.com
Director, scriptwriter and actor. Born in Helsinki, Finland, died in Stockholm, Sweden. Original name Moshe Stiller.
Mauritz Stiller (1883-1928) is alongside Victor Sjöström the biggest name in Swedish silent cinema. Stiller grew up in a Russian-Jewish family in Helsinki, Finland, but left for Sweden were he worked in the theatre, both as an actor and as a director. In 1912 he was hired by Charles Magnusson to direct films for Svenska Biografteatern. Just like his colleague Sjöström, Stiller was very prolific in his first years as a film director. During 1912-16 he directed no less than 34 films, in different genres. The most remarkable of these early films was Vingarne / The Wings (1916), an adaptation of Danish writer Herman Bang’s novel Mikael. Stiller added a framing structure to the story, showing the production of the film itself and how it is received by critics and audience.
This self-reflexive element is also present in Stiller’s Thomas… read more