Posts tagged “bergman

Swedish. Meat. Balls.

When I picture the Nordic landscape, a place I’ve longed to visit, I envision long streaks of grays, blues, greens, and browns, interrupted with flurries of brilliant color, as in the many fishing villages which dot the coastline.  And in my mind, these magnificent splashes juxtapose perfectly against the coolness of the countryside.  The counterbalance of the two is what gives each its power.

Here in America, we seldom consider balance.  If something is good, our thought is to then accentuate it, and make it even “better.”  The mantra of America seems to be “show more, do more, bigger, higher, louder, faster.”  Our films, for example, are big, over-sensory experiences where there is no such thing as “too much.”  But focusing on the easily exploitable is not a very difficult bulls-eye to hit.  What takes real artistry — balls, even — is to present life in a fully-nuanced and realistic manner, in all its complexity, and doing so is much harder than it would appear.

When I was younger, I knew little of Sweden, aside from IKEA.  And while I appreciated all-things-lingonberry and the clean design aesthetic the big blue store presented, I was always disappointed to get the products home and discover that, as pretty as they had appeared, they rarely stood up in terms of quality.  Whereas the stores themselves had no problem serving up heaping piles of meatballs, their poorly-made products clearly lacked “the meat.” (more…)